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Edward Smith

progressing from headstand to handstand leg raises

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Edward Smith

I am pretty proficient at headstand leg raises but no matter how hard i try i can't get close to handstand leg raises. any ideas?

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kbryk

You still need lots of lower back work, you are working up to the press if I'm correct, do some hyper extensions with a good amount of weight, if you have some ankle weights throw them on your ankles and then do headstand leg raises, if you do have a spotter it's best that you use them to work up to handstand press. It's a difficult skill it will take time.

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Guest regaman

Try handstand leg raises with:

-tucked legs

-starting with feet raised up on something

-a little jump at the beginning

-a spotter helping you up where needed

and progress from there.

It's very difficult, I've been trying on and off for 2-3 months and I can see just a tiny progress.

Look at this links for more info on developing the press to handstand:

http://www.drillsandskills.com/article/16

http://www.mspt47.com/gymnastics/index.php?Floor_Exercise:Press_Handstands

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Coach Sommer

Even people who are strong at weighted headstand pike presses fail at handstand pike presses the first time out of the gate. The problem is one of too little lower back strength while in an extended shoulder position and supporting your entire bodyweight. As you have already discovered, maintaining this shoulder position during a press handstand puts a whole new dimension on reverse leg lifts. This is where the leverage of the pike press is the weakest during the movement and the shoulder girdle strength needed to maintain this position is significantly greater than that of the headstand.

In my experience, probably the easiest way to resolve this issue is to approach it incrementally. Rather than attempting to go directly from pike press headstand (the headstand reverse leg lift) to a handstand pike press, lets add an intermediary step; performing them as a wall press variation. Simply find a suitable wall, place your hands approximately 6-12" away and then lean the back of your shoulders directly against the wall. Duck your chin so that your head is not pressing into the wall and that all of your weight is born by the back of the shoulders. Essentially we are creating a straight arm tripod to balance with using the hands and the back of the shoulders as the points of contact. Now press your legs up to handstand while maintaining straight arms. The shoulders will remain strongly pressed into the wall until the very top of the press.

If at first you cannot lift your feet from the ground, you may need to increase the distance of your hands from the wall. Experiment to find the distance that suits your current level of strength. Turning your hands sideways will help to alleviate pressure on your wrists, as the farther from the wall you place your hands the more extreme the pressure on your wrists will be if the fingers are facing forward.

As your strength increases, move your hands closer to the wall to increase the training load.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

  • Thanks 1

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Elawin

Thanks for the tip coach!

I will try that one out.

I just can´t wait until your books are reday for purchase.

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George Launchbury
You may be aware that currently the order of the day for the low back is increased stability, not mobility.

As I understand it, Mobility training is mainly about maintaining/restoring the correct ROM in and around a joint. Flexibility is about lengthening ROM where the limiting factor is muscle length, not joint restriction. Stability is having the strength and coordination to use the joint safely and effectively throughout its ROM.

Any joint that has restricted mobility is unhealthy, and at increased risk of injury to the joint, ligaments, muscles and tendons around it. The spine is a series of joints that flex, laterally flex, rotate and extend. Mobility is therefore important to spinal health. Like any other joint you also need to have enough strength to stabilise and use that joint (or series of joints) throught it's ROM. People often confuse correcting and maintaining mobility of the spine with stretching the spine beyond it's natural limits, which is obviously bad. Just like stretching any joint past it's healthy ROM.

Your lumbar back will inevitably bend, either in training or life, by design or accident - and injuries occur when you have reduced both the mobility and/or strength throughout that range of movement to back it up. Therefore the blanket 'advice' to keep the lumbar spine fixed at all times should be taken in context - good advice for lifting really heavy weights.

My advice: work the headstand RLL as far as you are able without an excessive curvature in the lower spine. Take it easy to start with, since it sounds like your mobility and strength in that area have some catch-up to do. Also do some extra spinal mobility work.

Regards,

George.

P.s. Interesting recent posts by Coach on the subject:

> Jefferson Curls - Great Spinal Pre/Re-hab

> Is Spinal Mobility Important?

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JoeS

As somebody who is getting a feel for this move away from the wall, and who is very comfortable with the wall version, I'm absolutely convinced that the press handstand is 90% brute upper body pressing strength. I may be wrong, but I think back strength is displayed only in a supporting role.

The technique that works best for me is this: Get in a pike starting position (with or without the wall) and lean forward until you think all your weight is on your hands, next, simultaneously "harden" your upper body and core and try to relax your legs (this takes practice). Resolve to maintain the same angle between your arms and upper body as you slowly pull your feet off the ground using your hamstrings (no jumping!). If you fall back towards your feet, then shift your weight forward and/or pike more. if you sag back to the ground then press harder! When you can hand-balance in this high tuck planche position for time you should be able to press into a handstand by just pressing harder into the ground. There will be balance issues but eventually you'll get it.

To do a strict pike press, you use the same technique but you lift your feet off the ground with the glutes, and you lean forward some more to offset the weight of your legs.

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Coach Sommer

For a beginner it is perfectly acceptable to lean forward during the initiation of leg lift off of the ground. However as your proficiency improves, you will need to strive to eliminate as much forward lean during the press. Ideally your shoulders will be directly above the hands during the entire press.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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George Launchbury

Coach,

As I type this I have a vague recollection of having asked this before!? Aplogies (and delete) if that is the case :oops:

How should one correctly counter-balance the legs? Opening the shoulder angle so that the hips travel behind the hands? Keeping the hips, shoulders and hands in a straight line but leaning over at the wrists? Something else which my sleep-deprived brain cannot grasp?

Many thanks,

George.

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Coach Sommer

For a perfect pike press, ideally there will be no counter-balancing per se; but only pure shoulder girdle and mid-back strength in combination with an excellent degree of active shoulder flexibility. Naturally this will not be the case at first :D. However as strength improves, the degree of forward lean will continue to lessen. It is also interesting to note that this process is the exact opposite of planche press development where, as strength improves, the degree of forward lean continues to increase for quite some time. Properly executed pike/straddle press variations and planche press variations work distinctly different muscle groups.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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Rikke Olsen

This is really just what I needed! I tried a reverse leg raise from handstand position against a wall, but failed (big time!).

I'm going to try this - thanks for the tip!

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Shivayan Bhattacharjee
On 1/23/2008 at 2:28 AM, Coach Sommer said:

Even people who are strong at weighted headstand pike presses fail at handstand pike presses the first time out of the gate. The problem is one of too little lower back strength while in an extended shoulder position and supporting your entire bodyweight. As you have already discovered, maintaining this shoulder position during a press handstand puts a whole new dimension on reverse leg lifts. This is where the leverage of the pike press is the weakest during the movement and the shoulder girdle strength needed to maintain this position is significantly greater than that of the headstand.

In my experience, probably the easiest way to resolve this issue is to approach it incrementally. Rather than attempting to go directly from pike press headstand (the headstand reverse leg lift) to a handstand pike press, lets add an intermediary step; performing them as a wall press variation. Simply find a suitable wall, place your hands approximately 6-12" away and then lean the back of your shoulders directly against the wall. Duck your chin so that your head is not pressing into the wall and that all of your weight is born by the back of the shoulders. Essentially we are creating a straight arm tripod to balance with using the hands and the back of the shoulders as the points of contact. Now press your legs up to handstand while maintaining straight arms. The shoulders will remain strongly pressed into the wall until the very top of the press.

If at first you cannot lift your feet from the ground, you may need to increase the distance of your hands from the wall. Experiment to find the distance that suits your current level of strength. Turning your hands sideways will help to alleviate pressure on your wrists, as the farther from the wall you place your hands the more extreme the pressure on your wrists will be if the fingers are facing forward.

As your strength increases, move your hands closer to the wall to increase the training load.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

Good afternoon coach,

I know I am digging quite deep into the forums, but I couldn't for the life of me do the Headstand Reverse Leg lift for the Side lever progression using a regular tripod headstand. Using the "straight arm headstand," config for reverse leg lift helped immensely! Thank you.

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