When you see someone do a handstand do you think to yourself, “Wow, that is impressive! I could never do that?” What about a handstand pushup? Impossible? Maybe you don’t even know what that is. Well, what if we told you that you can do a handstand and even work your way up to doing handstand pushups, too. Don’t believe us? Here is a plan on how you too can do a handstand pushup and impress all of your friends. Plus, the handstand pushup is a great way to build upper body strength, core strength, balance, and make you feel strong.
A handstand and a pushup are great exercises. They target a lot of the muscles in the upper body–shoulders, chest, back, core, and arms to name a few. But being able to perform these movements together brings you to a completely different level of, what we like to call “bang for your buck exercises”.
How to Create a Solid Foundation for a Handstand Pushup:
The handstand pushup is an advanced movement. It is important to know this and be confident that you are ready to take it to an advanced level before you just throw yourself up a wall or at least attempt to.
It is important to strengthen your upper body. To do so, performing a lot of strict presses, push presses, and throwing wall balls around will help prepare the body in strength and similar movement patterns. It is worth noting that in a handstand pushup your body does need to carry your body weight in a vertical movement, but this does not mean you need to be able to strict press or even push press your bodyweight in preparation.
A great modified version of a handstand pushup is a bomber pushup this is a great way to prepare for a handstand pushup by taking some of your body weight off of the movement. These will be of great help when strengthening and preparing your body for the real deal. Another great exercise to practice is a handstand pushup but only the negative portion. This means, from in the handstand position you are only going to slowly, and with control, lower your head to the ground. (Having a mat to rest your head on is always a great idea.) You don’t need to worry about coming back up yet. Working on the negative, the lowering to the ground part, will help with your strength and balance and get you one step closer to doing an actual handstand pushup.
You are going to want to get comfortable with being upside down. This is not something our bodies feel natural doing so it is important to practice it. If you can’t kick yourself up on the wall into a handstand position, then there are other modifications that work well before you have the coordination to kick up. Try walking your feet up the wall. What we mean by this is to start in a pushup position with your feet touching the wall. You will then lift your foot up onto the wall and push your body into the wall. As you are pushing your body into the wall by pushing off the ground, start to place your other foot on the wall. Then you will want to walk your feet up the wall as you walk your hands closer to the wall. Even if you can only get both of your feet off of the ground and onto the wall, that is a huge accomplishment. The idea here is to be able to walk your hands all the way back to the wall as close as possible to get yourself as vertical as possible.
Once you are vertical, the next is to practice staying there. You will want to actually look straight ahead and focus on your breathing. Keeping your arms straight, see how long you can hold yourself there while still being able to come safely off of the wall. If you walked your feet up the wall to get vertical, then the next step will be to practice kicking up on the wall and different hand positions–narrow, shoulder width, and wide.
How to do a handstand pushup:
- Set up: Place your hands about 6 inches from the wall shoulder-width apart.
- Kick up: With your hands firming planted on the ground, kick your feet up on the wall and balance there. (You should have mastered this by now.)
- Hold: To hold the handstand with proper form, you will want to basically squeeze everything, from your core, glutes, and quads. Be sure your toes are straight and press your hands hard into the floor so that you aren’t collapsing in the shoulders and your body is in a straight line. Be sure not to arch your lower back or stick your chest out. You want your chest and butt to stay in line with your body and neither one be overextended.
- Push up: Be inhale in and start to bend your elbows, these this those negatives you were practicing. Allow your ankles to slide down the wall and as your head touches the floor, push hard into the floor with your hands to drive your body back up and return to your starting handstand. Be sure not to put any weight on your head at the bottom of the move and push back up immediately. If you rest your head on the ground, then this would be a headstand and not a handstand like we are working towards.
- Repeat: Now that you have done one, try and string a couple together.