Press Handstand


The press handstand is a remarkable feat that combines strength, flexibility, and balance into a captivating display of body control. Unlike the conventional handstand achieved through a kick-up, the press handstand involves gracefully lifting into the inverted position without any external force. This advanced skill not only demands physical prowess but also showcases the artistry of movement. Whether you’re a gymnast, a yoga enthusiast, or simply intrigued by the magic of defying gravity, the press handstand is a remarkable achievement that showcases the potential of the human body.

Mastering the press handstand is a journey that combines training, dedication, and progressive development. Here’s a step-by-step guide to guide you through the process of achieving this extraordinary skill:

Pose Detail

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1
Warm-Up: Start your practice with a comprehensive warm-up. Focus on mobilizing your wrists, shoulders, and hips. Incorporate dynamic stretches and gentle movements to prepare your body for the challenges ahead.
Step 2
Core Strengthening: Strong core muscles are vital for executing the press handstand. Integrate exercises such as leg lifts, V-ups, and hollow holds into your routine to enhance core strength.
Step 3
Hip Flexibility: Flexible hip flexors play a crucial role in the press handstand. Include stretches like lunges and hip openers to improve your hip mobility and enhance your ability to fold your body.
Step 4
Pike Press Progressions: Begin with pike press progressions. From a pike position, place your hands on the ground and lift your hips while maintaining a straight line from your wrists to your hips. Focus on engaging your core and using your shoulders to press through the movement.
Step 5
Straddle Press Progressions: Once you've mastered pike press progressions, move on to straddle press progressions. Start in a straddle position with your hands on the ground. Lift your legs off the floor while pressing through your shoulders and engaging your core. The goal is to maintain balance and controlled movement.
Step 6
Full Press Handstand: Combine the techniques you've learned in previous progressions to achieve the full press handstand. Begin in a pike position, engage your core, and press through your shoulders as you extend your legs overhead. Continue pressing until you reach a stable handstand position.

Benefits and Contraindications


Strength Development: Press handstands engage the core, shoulders, and arms, promoting overall upper body strength.

Flexibility Enhancement: The practice of press handstands can lead to improved hip and hamstring flexibility.

Body Control: Mastering the press handstand hones your ability to control your body's movements with precision.

Balance Improvement: Achieving and maintaining balance in a press handstand enhances your overall sense of equilibrium.

Core Engagement: The skill requires sustained core engagement, leading to a stronger and more stable midsection.


Wrist Issues: Individuals with wrist injuries or discomfort should approach press handstand practice cautiously.

Shoulder Problems: Those with shoulder instability or injuries should consult a professional before attempting press handstands.

Inexperience: Beginners should gradually work up to press handstands, as this is an advanced skill that demands prior handstand experience.

Useful Tips and Modifications

Here are some tips and modifications that will help you to master press handstand:

  • Focus on the movement’s fluidity rather than rushing through steps.
  • Train Consistently. Regular practice is essential to develop the required strength and technique.
  • Use spotter assistance. Having a spotter can provide safety and guidance as you work on press handstands.
  • Practice near the wall. Practicing press handstands against a wall can aid balance and confidence.
  • Break the skill into segments and work on specific components to build your overall proficiency.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there different types of press handstands?

Yes. Press handstands involve:

  • Pike Press Handstand: In a pike press handstand, the legs are kept straight and close to the torso. The movement involves lifting the legs while maintaining a pike position (legs together, bent at the hips), and gradually shifting the weight onto the hands until the body is fully upright.
  • Straddle Press Handstand: Straddle press handstand involves lifting the legs into a straddle position (legs spread wide apart) while simultaneously pressing through the shoulders to raise the hips off the ground. This variation requires a combination of hip flexibility and core strength.
  • Tuck Press Handstand: In the tuck press handstand, the legs are bent at the hips and knees, resembling a tucked position. This variation can be slightly easier for beginners as the tucked shape allows for better weight distribution and balance control.
  • Single-Leg Press Handstand:
    A more advanced variation, the single-leg press handstand, involves pressing into a handstand position while keeping one leg extended upward. This variation requires additional core strength and balance.
  • Negative Press Handstand:
    The negative press handstand is a drill that focuses on the descent rather than the ascent. It involves lowering the body from a handstand to the ground in a controlled manner, emphasizing the engagement of the core and shoulder muscles.
  • Lever Press Handstand: In a lever press handstand, the legs start extended forward while the upper body leans backward. The challenge is to shift the weight forward and engage the core to lift the legs and hips into a handstand.
  • Hollowback Press Handstand:
    The hollowback press handstand involves arching the back and opening the shoulders as you press into the handstand. This variation requires exceptional shoulder flexibility and strength.
  • Stalder Press Handstand: A more advanced variation, the stalder press handstand starts with the legs in a straddle position but transitions to a pike as the body lifts into the handstand. This variation demands a high level of hip flexibility and control.
  • One-Arm Press Handstand: Among the most advanced variations, the one-arm press handstand involves achieving a handstand position while supporting the body weight primarily on one hand. This variation requires exceptional strength and balance.
  • Bent-Arm Press Handstand: In this variation, the arms are slightly bent at the elbows during the press. It requires a combination of strength and technique to lift the body while maintaining control.
Do I need to be flexible to do a press handstand?

Flexibility is crucial for certain variations of press handstands. Addressing the relationship between flexibility and different press handstand progressions helps individuals understand their training needs.

What muscles are used in a press handstand?

Detailing the muscle groups engaged, such as the core, shoulders, and hip flexors, offers insight into the physical demands of the skill.

How long does it take to learn a press handstand?

Progress timelines vary, and people often seek an estimate. Stressing the importance of consistent practice and patience helps manage expectations.

Can I practice press handstands at home?

Home practice is common, but individuals might wonder about safety. Offering tips for practicing safely at home, including using proper mats and clear space, is valuable information.


  • Pike Press Handstand
  • Straddle Press Handstand
  • Tuck Press Handstand
  • Single-Leg Press Handstand
  • Negative Press Handstand
  • Lever Press Handstand
  • Hollowback Press Handstand
  • Stalder Press Handstand
  • One-Arm Press Handstand
  • Bent-Arm Press Handstand

Top Preparatory Exercises

  • Pike and Straddle Stretching
  • Core Strengthening (Leg lifts, V-ups, Hollow holds)
  • Hip Flexor Stretches (Lunges, Hip openers)
  • Wall-Assisted Handstands for balance practice

Top Follow-Up Exercises

  • Handstand Conditioning (to improve overall handstand strength)
  • Flexibility Training (to maintain and enhance hip and hamstring flexibility)
  • Core Workouts (to continually strengthen your core muscles)

Iana Varshavska
Iana Varshavska
Website administrator

A digital marketer in love with yoga and everything that goes along with it. In 2021, her huge passion for yoga led her to yoga teacher trainings. After successfully completing her studies, Iana received her Yoga Alliance U.S. certification, left the corporate IT world and devoted herself to the development of Yanva. To be able to create the best online yoga space for yoga enthusiasts like her, Iana is constantly learning and improving her skills in various aspects of yoga philosophy, anatomy and biomechanics. Since 2021, she has continued to attend various types of teacher training, including yoga therapy, gives online and offline classes, and conducts local workshops for people who want to learn more about yoga. At the moment, Iana continues to work on her personal practice, improving her hand balancing skills, as well as developing her own training programs.