Last week I posted a video of me doing a straddle press to handstand to the Gymnastic Bodies forums.
I was glad that I received some really good tips and hints to improve my form and make the whole move more efficient. Of course the biggest barrier is and will be active and passive flexibility, but I got some more interesting feedback.
So here, once again, is the mentioned clip and two of the comments I got.
Where to go from here?
Yuri told me:
“Yeah man, slow negatives are the way to go. Especially since you already have the balance
you break at the shoulders first then the hip making the energy expenditure of this movement very great for you. Work very slow negatives and try to maintain the arms at vertical. At first you will begin your open straddle then stop at the point where you have to rotate your hips in to go further. Mark this point because it is important.
As your legs begin to come forward, your hips will move slightly back over your head to compensate for the balance if you keep your shoulders open. Try to maintain this and fold your legs as best as you can leaning forward in the shoulder (if you absolutely must) as late as possible.”
Very good points here. I already tried the “moving the hips slightly back over your head to compensate for the balance” part, but that is really tricky and will take a low of time to get used to. Every try felt like I was about to tip over so I did it 50cm in front of a wall. Still tricky and will take me some time to get used to. He added
“No worries, I had to go through the progressions of leaning way too much also as I’m stronger than I am flexible as well. Keep at it and keep working your flexibility, then the progress will come and you’ll be doing pike- and stalder presses (endo presses).”
Mikael, aka Handbalancer wrote the following:
Looks pretty good. But as Yuri said you can work on minimizing the forwards lean. The best way to do this is through a combination of both active and passive flexibility in your hips as well as working slow negatives while REALLY focusing on rolling down your back, almost vertebrae by vertebrae when the legs go down. You should feel your abs cramping under the compression work. This compression is both a strength and active flex thing which is very important for press hs. Opening the shoulders even more also always helps, so keep working your flex there as well. Remember also to push DOWN into the floor as hard as you can when you want to press up. This press into the floor makes you activate the trapezius as much as possible, which will stack more of your body weight on top of your shoulders, which in turn makes less forward lean necessary.
Really important points here. The mental image of slowly rolling the back, vertebrae by vertebrae is a really good one to keep in mind. That will help to really focus on slowing down the negative portion of the move.
Also the pushing down into the floor is a really, really important point. When I tried it, I could feel my trapezius firing more. The whole thing felt a bit more stable.
Mikael also wrote this in another thread:
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.
So once again, thanks to everybody who provided me with feedback.
I am so looking forward to the time when I am able to do endo presses for repetitions (maybe with ankle weights). Even though it will take lots of time and dedication to get there.