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Simple Handstand Press

Below is the technique for a simple handstand press. This means that both your arms and legs will be bending to make things easier. I recommend having the handstand fairly solid before you try this skill, as well as a couple handstand pushups against a wall.

On to the press.

You’ll want to get into a tuck position and put your hands out about shoulder width in front of you. Take note that your shoulders are higher than your hips right now.

Now what you’re trying to do next is to get your hips higher than your shoulders. We’ll do this by bending the arms. There will be tension in your arms and shoulders at this point, as you are now holding your bodyweight in the air. You’ll also start to feel your fingers balancing you in the position, just like a regular handstand. Keep yourself tucked. And despite what it may look like (?) don’t rest your knees on your elbows. Your elbows are close by, but provide no support.


In addition, don’t bend your arms too much. If you bend them to 90 degrees, you’ll mash your face, as you can see below.

But trust me, if you ever do this you won’t the next time. It’s a fast learning curve.

When you’ve bent your arms to the correct angle (a bit greater than 90 degrees), and your hips are higher than your shoulders, it’s time to press up and begin to straighten out your body.

The most important thing I can say here is KEEP YOURSELF TUCKED!

If you open your legs before you reach the position shown above, it’s called “planching” the handstand. This means that you’re extending into more of a planche position then a handstand position. This is obviously harder, and will probably cause you to fall down and fail the press. If you feel like your legs are always weighing you down in this skill, pay attention to where your hips are, and where in the press you are opening up the tuck. You want to keep yourself tucked until right after this position, then straighten out your arms and legs….


Bam. You’re in a handstand.

What to do if something goes wrong�

Aug 18, 2010 | Category: Presses & Pushups, Tutorial | Comments: 13


13 Responses to “Simple Handstand Press”

  1. Yikai Zhang

    Hi Jim

    I’m 16, and I’ve been interested in calisthenics and hand balancing for over 6 months now. I regularly visit your website for those amazing tutorials: thanks a lot for putting them up!

    The ‘simple'(impossible to me) handstand press is a skill I would love to learn but I’m struggling with it. I am still not consistent with my handstands (I can hold one for about 15-20 seconds, but most of them last about 5 seconds) and I can only do 2 or 3 handstand push-ups against a wall (maybe this skill comes easier with greater shoulder strength?). Do you know any progressions for learning this skill? And surely you have to start in a tucked planche position to do this skill, so would you recommend practicing holding the tucked planche?

    Thanks and respect from London

  2. admin

    Get stronger (more HSPU’s) and get a longer handstand. Build the foundation before you start worrying about this.


    • Yikai

      Ok… I’ll be cracking out lots of handstand push ups then.
      Thanks a lot for your advice! I am also wondering if core strenghth plays a large role in this move?

  3. andy

    what is responsible for holding your hips in the air like this?

    do you lean your head forward to counter balance your hips/legs?

    somewhere on the web tells me its the hip flexors doing it, but when i practice it myself, my triceps and shoulders is actually doing all/most of the work. Am I right or am doing something wrong?

  4. Fano

    Having a lot of difficulty with the part where we have to raise our hips above our heads. I can’t find any strength to rotate…
    Will doing more HSPU’s help for this?

  5. Logan

    Please change the name of this I feel like a tard not being able to do something called “simple” lol. I can’t really hold the handstand for long but I can press into this. Should I practice my general handstand first or stick with this and the handstand will come?

  6. alex

    can u imagine to do this an a Bar?

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