My absolute favorite movement (bodyweight) to see when I walk into the gym are those 4 letters- HSPU. Yes, handstand push-ups! I freaking love them but then I see some of my gym mates and they just have looks of agony on their faces but it’s not because they don’t want to do HSPU it’s because they don’t know how. And they aren’t going to learn in the next 15 minutes. I have seen some try that have never attempted them before and it just looks like they are going to break their neck… by all means go ahead and try but just be careful.
Handstand Push-ups are not easy. It takes time and practice to be efficient at them. I remember my journey to getting a strict handstand push-up then learning how to kip so I could do “Diane” without it taking me forever and a day. I have to admit the fact I’m height challenged does make my range of motion shorter but they are still hard!
I have seen more than a few ways to learn how to do a HSPU. I decided to choose Carl Paoli Free+Style Connection progressions on handstand push-ups because if you have never done them this will break down every single movement to help you understand what your body needs to do.
Handstand Push-ups Series with Carl Paoli: Free+Style Connection
If you are a beginner and have never even attempted HSPU then start here!
I learned a bit differently through various coaches I use to have who showed me how to scale properly and to understand how to get use to the movement then working your way to becoming completely vertical. I knew some friends that just hate being upside down, they had the strength to do it but being inverted felt super unnatural to them. REMEMBER: scaling options are just as effective because they are working the muscles that need to be worked to get you in the right position.
**Another thing that gets underestimated when learning how to do a HSPU is how to kick up into a handstand against the wall.** I remember in the beginning that was the scariest part for me but now I don’t even think twice about it. (ALL MENTAL) You have to play around with your hand placement how wide or narrow you want to be, how close or far away from the wall you have to be because that is crucial to be in a stable and comfortable hollow body position. You don’t want to have a super arched back where you are shooting your rib cage out, shoulders drop, your neck isn’t in a neutral position. You can do your own research or ask your coach at your gym.
The Crucial (tuck) Position
This is for the person who is ready to kick up into the Handstand Push-ups whether strict or kipping – start here!
This is for those who can’t quite figure out how to kip with their backs facing the wall. Maybe, you need a different perspective? – start here!
Okay now you are wondering… “why is he facing the wall?” “That’s not a HSPU” (confused voice) “do I really have to do it like that?”
You don’t have to do it like that BUT the reason why he is facing the wall is because when people start to learn the HSPU they can be all over the place especially with trying to maintain a good hollow body position with your back facing the wall. Naturally you’ll start to fatigue because the movement is new so therefore you let go anything you learn about the hollow body and you start arching your back and that’s the worse position to be in!
Facing Wall Kipping Handstand Push-ups
For the seasoned athlete who knows how to do HSPU but want to get better! – start here
I understand this might not be your favorite bodyweight movement but burpees are worse and we can all do those 😉
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March is the founder of the Barbell Beauties. Her goal is simple… Empower every woman to grab a barbell and LIFT. She’s been an active CrossFitter for 7 years and credits that sport for turning her into a true athlete.