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5 Pike Press Handstand Conditioning Drills On the Wall

All poses are demonstrated by Sapphire Ng, guitarist, dancer, model and pioneer of Contortion Guitar.

  • Pike Hold - Pike Press Handstand Conditioning Drill
  • Pencil - Pike Press Handstand Conditioning Drill

1. Pike to Straight Pencil


Recommended reps and sets

Beginner

5 sets x 1 rep

Intermediate

3 sets x 4 reps

Advanced

3 sets x 8 reps

What to do

With the back against the wall, lift both feet off the ground keeping the legs straight and together

Keeping the legs straight and together and pointing the feet, lift the legs into a straight pencil handstand

With as much control as possible, slowly lower the legs back down into a low pike position

Modifications

Bending the legs slightly will make it easier to lift the legs up

Relaxing the toes and not pointing them will make it easier to lift the legs up

Having the legs slightly apart will make it easier to lift the legs up

If it is still too difficult to lift the legs up to touch the wall, try Tucked Press Handstand against the wall, keeping the legs fully bent and tucked to the torso, moving the legs to place both feet on the wall, and then straightening the legs. Reverse the movements to return to the tucked position

Notes

Placing the hands closer to the wall makes it harder to lean the weight of the body on the wall, thus requiring greater core engagement and overall strength and confidence of Pike Press Handstands

Placing the hands further away from the wall places more weight on the shoulders but also allows more body weight to be placed on the wall

Place palms facing horizontally outwards to each side to reduce strain on the wrists

Be sure to tuck head into the chest as much as possible to ensure even distribution of weight against the wall across the upper back, lower back and hips, to avoid using the tip of the head and neck as a compression point against the wall to help lift the legs up so as to avoid strain on the neck

If you encounter difficulties in particular to lift the legs beyond the 90 degrees halfway point, focus on engaging even further and applying extra force to the core and the quadriceps in a lifting motion

If it is too difficult to lower the legs down in a controlled and slow manner, engage and hold the legs and the core tight while lowering to the best of your ability, letting the legs drop to the ground when you are no longer able to control and hold the descent

Pike Hold - Pike Press Handstand Conditioning Drill

2. Pike Hold


Recommended reps and sets

Beginner

3 sets x 10 seconds

Intermediate

3 sets x 20 seconds

Advanced

3 sets x 30 seconds

What to do

With the back against the wall, lift both feet off the ground keeping the legs straight and together, and pointing the toes

Hold the position

Modifications

Bending the legs slightly will make it easier to hold the position

If this is too difficult, try holding a tucked position to first build strength and get used to the position without taxing the core too much

Another modification is to lift only one leg off the ground, and to keep the other leg on tiptoes on the ground as support

Notes

If it is too difficult to hold the required duration, do more sets in order to increase total hold time. For example, for beginner level do 6 sets x 5 seconds instead of 3 sets x 10 seconds

L Hold - Pike Press Handstand Conditioning Drill

3. L Hold


Recommended reps and sets

Beginner

3 sets x 10 seconds

Intermediate

3 sets x 20 seconds

Advanced

3 sets x 30 seconds

What to do

With the back against the wall, lift both feet off the ground keeping the legs straight and together, and pointing the toes

Lift the legs to reach the halfway point, a 90 degrees angle or an L Shape

Hold the position

Modifications

Bending the legs slightly will make it easier to hold the position

Lift only one leg to the L position, leaving the other leg in the low pike position or on tiptoes on the ground as support

Notes

If it is too difficult to hold the required duration, do more sets in order to increase total hold time. For example, for beginner level do 6 sets x 5 seconds instead of 3 sets x 10 seconds

  • Pike Hold - Pike Press Handstand Conditioning Drill
  • Alternating Leg Raises - Pike Press Handstand Conditioning Drill

4. Alternating Leg Raises


Recommended reps and sets

Beginner

3 sets x 8 reps (in total for both legs, i.e. 3 sets x 4 reps for each leg)

Intermediate

3 sets x 8 reps (for each leg)

Advanced

3 sets x 12 reps (for each leg)

What to do

With the back against the wall, lift both feet off the ground keeping the legs straight and together, and pointing the toes

Keeping the other leg in position, lift one leg up to almost touching the wall, stretching to almost a front split

Lower the top leg down to join the bottom leg

Repeat the movement for the other leg

Modifications

If mobility and flexibility is an issue, lift the leg up as high as the body allows and lower back down

Notes

If it is too much to focus on lifting alternate legs, first work on getting used to the movement of lifting the more comfortable leg

  • Leg Switches 1 - Pike Press Handstand Conditioning Drill
  • Leg Switches 2 - Pike Press Handstand Conditioning Drill

5. Leg Switches


Recommended reps and sets

Beginner

3 sets x 8 reps (in total for both legs, i.e. 3 sets x 4 reps for each leg)

Intermediate

3 sets x 8 reps (for each leg)

Advanced

3 sets x 12 reps (for each leg)

What to do

With the back against the wall, lift both feet off the ground keeping the legs straight and together, and pointing the toes

Keeping the other leg in position, lift one leg up to slightly below 90 degrees angle

Do a scissoring movement between the 2 legs

Modifications

Bending the legs slightly will make it easier

Notes

If it is too difficult to fully straighten the knees, focus on consciously engaging and straightening the knees after every scissoring movement

Another method is to practice isometric holds focused on fully straightening the knees and legs, holding the legs in the scissors position. When you are comfortable with this, maintain engagement in the knees and legs, and start to make very slow controlled scissoring movements, stopping immediately the moment the knees start to bend and returning to the isometric holds as a starting point


Sapphire Ng

Sapphire Ng is a guitarist, dancer, model and pioneer of Contortion Guitar, an original and distinctive performance act which unites acrobatics and contortion with guitar playing.

She is also a 2-time scholarship winner, having graduated with a second class honours with upper division for her Bachelor of Laws, Law LLB at Queen Mary University of London in the UK, and also with a Summa Cum Laude for her Bachelor of Music in Music Business and Management degree at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, USA.

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