Because I am working on my Press to Handstand I have found myself checking out a lot of articles and videos about it.
The following is a list of things that helped me to understand the movement and identify common errors. I hope that will be of some help for you people who are also struggling with the press to handstand.
First a video showing perfect straddle press to handstand execution, so we have a common denominator of what we are talking about. Looks pretty easy huh?
Drills that will help you understand the movement
First off, and most important, work on your active hip / leg flexibility and focus on negatives! Really slow negatives.
Mikael, aka Handbalancer wrote this in another thread on the GB forums:
However what you most definitely should do if you want to press hs:
-make your handstand solid(if it isnt already), at least 30 seconds, with decent form.
-stretch to open your shoulders if they are stiff(do this anyway as it is good for you in the long run)
-stretch your pike and pancake(in hs pressing straddle is DEFINITELY more easy than pike because of the amount of forwards shoulder lean)
-work on staying in a tucked position. Meaning legs tucked in front of your body. the closer you get your knees to your chest the better.
-start doing negative hs presses. This was for me and a lot of others I know the key to getting the press. learn to go from a controlled handstand(start in straddle) and lower your legs down towards the floor while heavily shrugging your shoulders to keep them from going front. You want to roll down your hips first, and ACTIVELY compressing your abs to roll the back vertebrae by vertebrae until you get to the floor. If you feel like you will faceplant as soon as you lower start to lower the legs, it means you should work more on your handstand and work on opening your shoulders. In the beginning you will probably feel that you can lower a little, but that you fall really fast once you reach a certain point. This is normal and the ROM which you can feel the pressure will increase with time
When you can stack the shoulders properly, the push is supposed to come more from your trapezius and scapula rather than your deltoids, as your arms stay more vertical. This makes the arms into pillars which the upper body is stacked on and the legs can then more easily be lifted off.
Tony Retrosi, from The Gymnastic Minute YouTube Channel shows the Stalder leg lift on bars, basically a straddle press handstand in reverse.
Also shown is the straddle press walk on parallel bars. That helps to learn how to get hips up and over as well learning how to compress your body.
Next he shows a flexibility drills on wall bars – the stalder stretch.
Next drill is a straddle press against the wall. Important point: legs are moving sideways instead of moving backwards, away from the support
A lying down drill that works compression and muscle memory Press Handstands.
Lack of active flexibility and lack of compression. Also my biggest disadvantage.
Next mistake which I also did a lot of times is Straddle Press Starting with Legs Too Open.
How to do it correctly:
Legs placed slightly wider than hands, when feet are leaving the floor they circle around the sides and up as wide as possible.
Straddle Press Mat Drill Progression- already needs good flexibility
An exercise to train the compression using furniture sliders.
Developing core strength for Press to Handstand with a physio ball, by Kevin Mazeika.
Where to go after the straddle press becomes easy?
Straddle Rock & Roll Drill for Endo Press
Straddle Press with Ankle Weights
Endo Press with Ankle Weights
Overall JoeLangley’s YouTube Channel is a goldmine. So much good content.
The Parallette Training – Volume 2 – The Press To Handstand Guide by
Drills and Skills was also of great help.
For some inspiration
Manna Press to Handstand.
Update: Here is another good video with progressions courtesy of CrossFit Gymnastics coach Sean Lind.
Update: Press Walks