My DD is 9, and L3. She's been working on press handstands for about 2 months now, and it getting awful close. She's determined to get them on her own. Her efforts have already impressed her gym-mates, and coaches. This is her greatest motivation.
There are lots of seperate skills that need to be mastered to achieve a true press to handstand. (i.e can't swing, push off elbows, etc). She's just now learning to lean forward (while keeping head up). This puts her butt under her hands so gravity is centered and the "press line" is vertical and not eliptical. It's impossible to do press to handstands without proper balance and leverage. It's not all muscle. It's all...everything...working together.
I've found there is a lot of conditioning that is required to do them properly too. Nastia's conditioning has been targeted to mostly core, wrists, shoulders, and hip flexors.
Some of her home conditioning program includes:
- Support body on hands (fingers pointing forward), and hold stalder for 1 full minute. (or 3 sets of 20 seconds). Including what we call "propellers" (rotating the feet in small circles during the stalder hold) helps with abs and calf strength. This is easist on a mushroom, but can also be done on the floor, low practice beam, or on paralelletts. (this is commonly a TV-time excersize)
- Leg lifts on stall bars from pike position. 3 sets of 5. Working towards 3 sets of 10.
- 3-5 Shrugs during 15 sec. held handstands. (learning how to do a proper handstand is a prereq)
- Wall climb from pushup position to handstand.
There are many more, but those are the ones that were most recommended by some gym coaches. They seem to work well, so we continue to do them.