Pressing Tips for a Stronger Handstand Walk
Written by Ricky Moore
Over the years, we have seen people who are great at handstand walking and those who are, well not so great.
What we have seen in our gyms at Invictus is that the athletes who have narrow grips for pressing, jerks and overhead squats have greater success and strength with handstand movements. Now I know some of you are thinking, “Well duh Smart guy!” But the correlation we have seen is how and where they press the bar. Here’s what to look for…to make sure your press is strong so you can better translate that strength into handstand walking.
Bar Position at Lockout
Make sure that during pressing movements, the bar is stacked over your spine (shoulders, hips, knees and ankles as much as possible). What you might see is the bar is over the center of the head or forehead while fully locked out which is a little too far forward. The goal is to work on getting the bar back into that ideal position over the spine instead. There could be a number of reasons why that is not happening and you can have a better plan of attack depending on where the dysfunction is whether it be awareness, lack of mobility somewhere, or something else entirely.
Grip Width in Pressing Movements
The second – and I would argue the more important aspect with regards to pressing and handstand walking – is the grip width. I would argue that the ideal hand position is with your thumbs touching your shoulders in the front rack position and then being able to press it up. When you do this, the best part is that you are already working on progress and confidence on the handstand walk or push-ups without even getting upside down. When doing this, the goal is not to go heavy with these presses, it is to improve positions! The same can be done with jerks and overhead squats to accomplish the same thing.
The HUGE Mistake that Can Cause Injury
One of the key mistakes I see with people learning handstand walks or push-ups is that they try to get better (that’s not the mistake…) and they end up spending 30 minutes upside down 3 or 4 times a week and putting a lot of pressure on their wrists (that’s the mistake!) and they end up having injuries and have to wait even longer to get better! Presses for position are a much safer way to work on these movements without getting upside down!
Sample “Pressing for Handstands” Programming
Here is a one-week sample to give you an idea:
Day 1 – Wall Walks x 15 total reps and 10 Donkey Kicks
Day 2 – 3 sets of Push Press x 5-7 reps to focus on narrow grip and perfect overhead position
Day 3 – 4 sets of 5-foot to 6-foot out Handstand Walks to Wall or Deficit Handstand Push-Ups x 5 reps
Then following weeks you can progress to Wall Walks + Wall Facing Handstand Holds and Donkey Kicks + Handstand Holds for Day 1, jerks or overhead squats for day 2 and then attempts at Handstand Walks or added volume on Handstand Push-Ups.
If you need more help with your handstands, don’t know where to start to even get to this point, or there are other gymnastics movements you struggle with – the Invictus Gymnastics Online Program is perfect for you! It includes 3-days/week of supplemental programming you can do before or after your regular training session to see rapid improvements! Four of our online programs start this Monday, April 5th – join one today and mount that attack on your weaknesses!