Having safely returned from my trip its time to get back into regular emails to help you go further in your hand balancing and acrobatics. I received a number of excellent questions while I was gone so I figured I’d start there.
“How should your hands look when there on the ground for a handstand?”
While it can change up depending on which hand balancing move you’re doing, for the normal handstand you want your hands flat on the ground with the fingers spread as far apart as possible. The middle or index finger should be pointing directly forward.
“I’ve been doing hand balancing for a while now. I’ve developed quite a strong upper body. I do hand-stand push-ups with ease. I kick up successfully more times than not and can hold the balance for a considerable amount of time. That is why I’m so perplexed as to why I cannot even come close to doing any of the stiff armed lever up exercises. In doing exercise #2 in “The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing”, The best I can do is on push-up bars, hold myself with my knees still under me, but when I try and lever up, I barely budged, literally about an inch or so. If I were to do this with bent arms, I do it with ease, same with all lever ups like with split or even straight legs. What makes stiff arm so difficult? What are the muscles being stressed most in a stiff arm lever up and how can one train them to get to do it? I feel I’m not even close to getting anywhere with them. Again, I’m extremely strong in the upper body. Is it possible I’m doing something wrong, or possibly I have neglected to train a certain muscle or muscle group?”
Straight arm presses are a different beast then bent arm presses. While you are having problems of this sort there are many people that can do straight arm moves but would fall flat in a bent arm press because they lack the strength.
Because of different body leverages the straight arm press may take you some time to get to, where others can do it almost immediately.
The straight arm press, in its various forms, requires strength in different areas as well as flexibility. You have to be able to get your center of mass over your hands. This requires your shoulders to go far out in front.
One method you may want to try is to do a bent arm press except try to bend your arms a little less, and gradually work up to a straight arm press. From the handstand you can do negatives lowering yourself down on straight arms.
Also having someone else to spot you can be a big help. They stand in front of you, your shoulders coming to meet their legs for support, and they assist you by raising your hips as much as you need to do the move.
And lastly I recommend you re-read Chapter 8 on pressing in the book for even more info. Most important is to just keep at it. If you find it difficult, it’ll be that much more satisfying when you finally make it.
Good Luck and Good Hand Balancing,
P.S. If you haven’t got your copy of The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing you can grab it here.