Press Handstand Anatomy

A Press Handstand Anatomy is a hybrid of a press and handstand hold. It is an exercise that targets some major body muscles for such as the muscles of the torso, hamstrings and the hip flexors.

A Press Handstand is practiced by gymnasts and acrobats.  It is performed mainly by getting into the handstand from sitting or standing straddle.

You may ask: “What are the benefits this type of handstand offers?” It is an advanced exercise in with all the stabilizer muscles of the torso participate hence it is helpful in building the core strength. Secondly, while performing a Press Handstand, you engage all of your body muscles from top to bottom (a complete body exercise). It also helps you improve the coordination between different muscle groups of the body thus gives you control over your body while performing such balancing moves.

This article will cover the muscles that stretch and contract while executing a Press Handstand. So, let’s start the muscle anatomy.

Muscles Lengthening


Press Handstand Anatomy

Hamstrings are one of the muscles on which the Press Handstand is most effective on. Hamstrings are the hip extensors and knee flexors. They stretch while doing the Press Handstand.

Adductor Magnus:

Press Handstand Anatomy

It is the prime adductor of the leg. While executing the Press Handstand, the legs remain in the abducted position. This will stretch the adductors like Adductor Magnus. It will be stretched more with the wider straddle.

Adductor Longus:

Press Handstand Anatomy

Adductor Longus just like Adductor Magnus will be stretched.

Adductor Brevis:

Press Handstand Anatomy

The more you will abduct the legs, the more this small adductor will be lengthened. Press Handstand works on the flexibility of all the adductor muscles.


Press Handstand Anatomy

Pectineus is also one of the adductors of the leg. So, it’s obvious that it will get stretched too just like the other adductors.


Press Handstand Anatomy

Gracilis is a strong adductor of the thigh and according to the trend, it will be lengthened.


Press Handstand Anatomy

Rhomboids act on the scapula to retract it. In Press Handstand, the scapula protracts to come in a proper position of balancing hence Rhomboids stretch here.

Latissimus Dorsi:

Latissimus Dorsi

Lats help in scapular retraction and extension of the arm at shoulder joint. Press Handstand doesn’t require extension of the arm but the opposite so the Lats stretch during performing Press Handstand.

Teres Major:

Teres Major

Just like Latissimus Dorsi, this muscle also assists in extending the arm at shoulder joint. And gets stretched when you perform a Press Handstand.

Muscles Lengthening while Contracting

Wrist Flexors:

Wrist Flexors

In a Press Handstand, the wrist is in extended position so that the palm of the hand faces the ground and the wrist flexors are pretty much stretched. But they contract to make that the wrist locks without getting extending further that can lead to injury.

Muscles Contracting


Psoas is a flexor of the leg at the hip joint. To execute the perfect Press Handstand, you need to flex the legs at the hip joint. This muscle along with other hip flexors will help you to achieve the same fate.


Iliacus always works with Psoas muscles to flex the hip. Thus, it contracts during Press Handstand.


Quadriceps flex the thigh at hip joint and extends the leg at knee joint. Both movements perfect for a Press Handstand.

Tensor Fascia Lata:

Tensor Fascia Lata acts on the leg to abduct it and also flex it at hip joint. Without abduction, you can’t reach the straddle position important for Press Handstand. Thus, its contraction is important.

Gluteus Medius (Anterior Fibers):

Anterior Fibers of Gluteus Medius flex the thigh at hip joint. So, its contraction is understandable in Press Handstand.

Gluteus Maximus (Upper Fibers):

The upper fibers of Gluteus Maximus are exclusive for abduction of the legs. You will be required to contract it for achieving the straddle position.

Pronator Teres:

The arms transmit the weight of the body to hands and it is most efficient during pronated state of the arms that you can see in the picture. This is why the contraction of Pronator Teres is important.

Pronator Quadratus:

Pronator Quadratus will also help in pronation of the arm.

Anterior Deltoid:

Anterior Deltoid will make sure to flex the arm at the shoulder joint and shift the body weight above the arm and stabilize the arm during Press Handstand. Its contraction is very important to execute this move.

Pectoralis Major (Clavicular part):

Pectoralis Major’s clavicular flexes the arm just like anterior Deltoid. So, assists in maintaining the elevated position of the arm.


Press Handstand Anatomy

Triceps extends the elbow. During Press Handstand, it will prevent the flexion of the arm at the elbow joint and help in carrying all the weight of the body.

Serratus Anterior Press Handstand Anatomy:

Press Handstand Anatomy

Serratus Anterior performs very important s during Press Handstand and that are scapular protraction and upward rotation scapulohumeral joint.

Quadratus Lumborum Press Handstand Anatomy:

Quadratus Lumborum is a lateral flexor of the spine but working bilaterally, it depresses the thoracic cage. And, that helps in forceful expiration. It is also a lumbar spine stabilize. So, it is a multifunctional muscle and its contraction is helpful during Press Handstand.

Spinal Extensors Press Handstand Anatomy:

Spinal Extensors help to extend the spine to achieve a straight spine during the Press Handstand. Thus, they are contracting.

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