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The Press Handstand: Mastering It

The press handstand is a root skill in the gymnastics world and can be tricky to master. Especially if you’re working on your press starting from a seated straddle position! A press handstand requires hip flexor strength, core strength, shoulder stability, balance… just to name a few!

We’ve compiled a list of a few exercises that can be done with minimal equipment to help you master your press handstand! And don’t forget, we’d love to hear from YOU about YOUR favorite exercises for press handstands. Send us over your favorite drills for a chance to be featured in an upcoming blog post!


Press handstand shaping
Lie on your back in a body line (a straight position with your arms extended overhead). Press the palms of your hands into a wall or otherwise solid surface. Begin by slowly lifting your feet off the ground and straddle around until your feet are touching the wall on either side of your hands. Hold this compressed shape for “1 gymnastics” and then roll back down the same way you came up. Repeat 5X.

*For added benefit, try to keep your lower back pressed into the ground throughout performing this drill. This drill mimics the shapes utilized when doing an actual press handstand.

Pike-up slides
Make a push-up position on the floor with your feet on a frisbee or a slider. Your shoulders should be slightly in front of your hands. Press down into the floor through the palms of your hands (placing most of your weight on them) and slide the frisbee close to your hands. Your hips should lift above your head so that your wrists, shoulders and bottom create a straight line. Hold for “1 gymnastics” and then slide back out to your push-up. Repeat 5X.

Stalder press walks
Stand at one end of the floor with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width. Reach down to the floor and place both hands flat. Lean forward slowly, putting weight on your hands while also lifting your feet off of the ground. Levitate, or hold, this position for “1 gymnastics” and then place your feet in front of your hands. Move your hands and feet like this slowly down the length of the floor until you’ve reached the end!

Stalder holds + pulses
Sitting on the edge of a panel mat or a balance beam, straddle your legs and place your hands on the beam between them. Lift your legs and bottom off of the beam into a stalder position and hold for “5 gymnastics.” Repeat this 5X.

Stalder press roles
Sitting on the floor (or the edge of a panel mat if the floor is too difficult) lift your bottom and legs off of the ground into a stalder. Similarly to the pulses (above exercise) roll your hips over your head until they’re stacked on top of your wrists. Roll forward, making sure to keep your feet off of the ground. Repeat 5X.

Handstand to stalder strengthening
Using a wall kick up onto a tight handstand. From the handstand, create a half circle with your feet, lowering them until your knees are parallel to the floor in a straddle. Bring your feet back together following the same path back up to the handstand. Repeat 5X.

*It’s important you stay pushed up through your shoulders throughout this drill!

Handstand to stalder down
From a handstand, roll down through the straddle handstand hold, scooping your feet up at the end to create the stalder. Hold the stalder for 5s. Repeat 5X.

If the floor is too easy, try this drill on the balance beam!

These are just a few exercises helpful in developing the muscles used in a press handstand. We’d love to hear about your favorites also!

Nyla is demonstrating the handstand press, she's wearing Destira's Tiger Stripe Leotard, check it out here. The handstand press is a challenging move, get motivated in your very own Tiger Stripe leotard.