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Mastering the Press-to-Handstand: Unlocking Skill, Strength and Flexibility


The press-to-handstand is a captivating skill that showcases an impressive combination of strength, flexibility, and body awareness. It involves transitioning from a standing position to a perfectly balanced handstand without using any momentum or assistance. Mastering this advanced maneuver requires dedication and consistent training, encompassing various elements such as high and low pressing, pike and straddle flexibility, compression strength, shoulder flexion, and upper back and shoulder strength.

In this article, we will explore the key components of press-to-handstand training and discuss the reasons why incorporating it into your fitness routine can be immensely rewarding.

High Press and Low Press Training:

The journey towards a flawless press-to-handstand begins with building strength and control in two distinct phases: the high press and the low press. In the low press, one learns to lift the legs off the ground while maintaining a straight arm handstand. This requires strong core engagement, shoulder stability, and control over the shifting of body weight. As you progress, the high press focuses on smoothly transitioning from a pike or straddle position to a fully extended handstand by gradually bringing the legs to vertical.

Pike and Straddle Flexibility:

Flexibility plays a crucial role in executing a successful press-to-handstand. Both pike and straddle flexibility contribute to achieving the necessary range of motion for seamless transitions. Regular passive stretching and active mobility exercises targeting the hamstrings, hip flexors, hip, and lower back help improve these specific areas, allowing for smoother and more controlled movements.

Compression Strength:

Compression strength refers to the ability to bring the thighs close to the torso while maintaining a straight leg position. This strength is vital in initiating the lift-off phase of the press-to-handstand. Incorporating exercises like seated pike compressions, V-ups, and leg lifts can significantly enhance compression strength, facilitating a more controlled press.

Shoulder Flexion and Upper Back/Shoulder Strength:

The mobility and strength of the shoulders and upper back are paramount in achieving a graceful press-to-handstand. Adequate shoulder flexion allows you to 'stack' the hips (center of mass) over the hands (center of balance) and allows for a smooth transition from a pike or straddle position to a fully extended handstand. Engaging in exercises such as chest-to-wall handstand holds, wall walks, pike push-ups, scapula C.A.R.S, and shoulder dislocates can help improve shoulder mobility and build strength in the upper back and shoulders.

Why People Should Do It:

a. Skill Development: The press-to-handstand is a challenging yet rewarding skill that pushes individuals to develop strength, flexibility, and body awareness. Mastering this technique brings a sense of accomplishment and boosts confidence.

b. Fun and Engagement: Performing a press-to-handstand adds an element of excitement and enjoyment to your fitness routine. It breaks the monotony of traditional exercises and offers a unique physical and mental challenge. Its an elegant and fun movement!

c. Health and Fitness Benefits: Training for a press-to-handstand promotes overall physical fitness. It enhances core strength, improves flexibility, develops upper body and shoulder strength, and enhances balance and body control. Additionally, it can help correct posture, relieve stress, and increase body awareness.


The press-to-handstand is an awe-inspiring skill that combines strength, flexibility, and body control. Through consistent training and focused exercises and drills targeting high and low pressing, pike and straddle flexibility, compression strength, shoulder flexion, and upper back and shoulder strength, individuals can master this challenging maneuver. Beyond the physical benefits, the journey towards mastering the press-to-handstand offers a sense of accomplishment, fun, and improved health and fitness. So why not embark on this thrilling journey and unlock your potential to defy gravity? Check out our on ramp 8 session package to get started either in-person or online!

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