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Reece Nugent

Forearm stand help with HS press

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Reece Nugent

iv got a trainer in the gym whos into circus/acro. After speaking to her about my progress in the HS wods she recommended starting to press to forearm stand in pike and straddle.

My HS press is currently a HeS press with head elevated so my arms are almost completly straight, oddly enough i find the doing a pike press alot more eaiser then the straddle.

Anyways back to the topic, will working forearm press's help me with my goal of getting a HS Press?

(im working the basic forearm stand press atm)http://www.lostartofhandbalancing.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/Forearm-Stand.jpg << like that except head is still touching the ground and my hands behind my head.

Whats the best way to progress?

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Mikael Kristiansen

First of all, stay away from the backbend both in elbowstand and handstand. It gives much less benefit than learning to stay straight and hollow, especially if you want to learn more handstand skills.

For the press, first of all; a headstand press(though a prerequisite) is quite far away from a handstand press. People often say that they easily can on the head, but have no chance on the arms. Then they come with something about not understanding the technique of the hs press, which usually is complete nonsense. What a hs press requires, along with the abdominal compression you can simulate with a headstand press, is shoulder strength and flexibility to be able to keep the shoulder in position when handling the weight of your legs being outside your bodyline.

A forearm press is different from a handstand press as what you do to get the centre of mass over your base of support is to lean the shoulders heavily forwards so your shoulders come closer to your palms, and then press the legs off the floor. In a handstand press you ideally want your shoulders to almost stay in place and through scapular strength and placement(flexibility) along with good abdominal compression as you press off the floor. I do not know how much a forearm press could help for hs press, but you could at least work on it at the same time if it interests you.

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

As you understand from my wall of text, the hs press is a much more complex skill than the headstand press, especially because of the shoulder part. If the flex is not there, it means you will try to stack your weight onto a base which is on an angle(your arms) and you will have to compensate with a lot more strength than if they could stay at 90 degrees. But remember, it is also scapular strength involved, so it is never only flexibility.

Hope this clarifies a little!

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Leandro

Handbalancer, your explanation has been a lot clarifying for me, as I'm also strugling with the press.

By shrugging the shoulders in the negative you mean trying to keep them open (arms 180º with chest) most of the time?

I always though that leaning forward made the press easier. Well thats when I was a lot more stiff. I have more rom now, but I'm still leaning forward in the press.

It's also hard on the wrists. Are you suposed to keep your weight on your fists/begining of hand or transfer to the knuckles/fingers as you start the press?

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Mikael Kristiansen

Yes, the more you push through the trapezius, either on the way up or down, the less you need to lean. Leaning forward does make it easier or even necessary to lean front if you do not have the shoulder flex and or trap strength needed. As for the wrists, naturally, the less you lean front the less pressure on your wrists. In the end, with perfect flexibility and strength, it is basically just about putting your hands on the floor, shifting your weight onto the hands and lifting your legs off with only a minimal amount of lean.

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Banzas

Handbalancer, good tips, but I didn't quite understand yet how to improve and reduce the lean, what to work on.

Here's a video of me doing press do handstand, you can see I lean forward a lot, and I think it looks a bit ugly... can you help please?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0PJJ6elBtU

Banzas

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Mikael Kristiansen

Like I said, opening up the shoulders is a key component to reducing the lean. Look at your handstand and notice the angle in the shoulders when you are all the way up. THAT is what makes you need to lean that far front. Pike flexiblity also matters to some degree because you can more easily compress when you are flexible.

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. However what you are doing is definitely a good step on the way! I was pressing like that before I worked more on my basics.

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Leandro
Yes, the more you push through the trapezius, either on the way up or down, the less you need to lean. Leaning forward does make it easier or even necessary to lean front if you do not have the shoulder flex and or trap strength needed. As for the wrists, naturally, the less you lean front the less pressure on your wrists. In the end, with perfect flexibility and strength, it is basically just about putting your hands on the floor, shifting your weight onto the hands and lifting your legs off with only a minimal amount of lean.

Oh you mean shoulder flexibility... I was thinking about pike and straddle. I never actually felt need to improve the rom of my shoulder to the press HS, just regular HS to straighten the body. Although it is also more flexible today than a little while and my handstand is a lot better indeed. That's probably because I never used correct form in the press to HS. Thinking now, my shoulder indeed, is not fully opened during the press. I'm anxious to try this new "method". Thanks!

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Banzas

Well, I can sit on floor and do the pike stretch (not that good but I touch with head on knees) but definetly my shoulders are too tigh, my bridges are terrible thanks to that. So, should I work on this 2 flexibility issues and it will improve and reduce the lean?

Thanks for the help! :)

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Cole Dano

Yes work on the flexibility. One nice thing with handstand work, is you can also work your flexibility while doing handstands.

Stomach to the wall HS is good, i also like bcd to the wall, about shin distance away. Bend the knees to 90 degrees with feet flat on the wall and work on lifting out of your chest rotating the ribs back.

One of the best cues for me was to start thinking hollow body in the handstand, i used to have a giant arch and collapsed lower back. Mikael and Coach Sommer have totally transformed my handstand!

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scottmo

Excellent advice Handbalancer, thanks! Are you performing any ancillary exercises to increase your scapular strength and what specific flexability exercises are you doing for shoulder mobility. I know many exercises and stretches have been mentioned in previous posts, just want your opinion as to what you found most effective. thanks

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Mikael Kristiansen

I dont do much auxilliary exercises outside of my regular handstand and straps practice. However both of these disciplines are almost nothing but exactly scapula training. I dont do much specific shoulder mobility for handstands as I have very good alignment and I have some small back problems at the moment so I can not do mexicans(the very over arched handstand which requires extra shoulder flex) I do however do dislocates and similar things to improve my ROM in the other directions.

For shoulder flexibility you should of course do static stretching against a wall or with a partner. Do not let the shoulders rotate out when stretching as you want them to open up directly backwards. What is more is that sometimes people do have the passive flex to get teh shoulders into place, but can not work in that specific position when upside down. The heavy shrug of the shoulders feels very unnatural when you are not used to work that way, and needs some getting used to even with the required flexibility. My point is that a straight handstand is a position which requires you to work strenght and active flex simultaneously.

Stomach to wall exercises are always always good to work in the alignment bit as you can concentrate on strength and staying in good position without worrying about balance. However, do also work your freestanding balance at the same time as you need to build up the balancing part as well!

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