Handstand Push ups Progression

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Beginner to Advanced


To master the handstand push ups

About this Progression

The hand stand is a very dynamic bodyweight exercise which allows you to develop excellent upper body strength as well as balance and body control.

Please remember to be careful when performing exercises listed in this progression.

Handstand Push ups Progression Exercises List

Step 1: Wall  Headstands

Carefully place the top of your head on the floor along with both of your hands, shoulder width apart, just in front of your body. Your hands and head should be forming a triangle. Put your feet up in the air until they rest on the wall. Remember that you are now resting your back against the wall. Use your feet on the wall to stabilise this position. Keep your body balanced. Keep everything tight and leaned flat against the wall. Practice this exercise until you can comfortably hold it for 2 minutes.

Step 2: Crow Stand

Balance on your hands, arms bent and rest your knees on your elbows. Similar to the headstand, imagine making a triangle with your hands and head (head not touching the ground though) for a stable base. This exercise gives the sensation of balancing on your hands unsupported without having to support your body in an upright position. This is good preparation for the difficult exercises ahead. Practice this exercise until you can comfortably hold it for 1 minutes.

Step 3: Wall Handstand

This exercise gives the sensation of standing on your hands while your legs are upright in the air. Place your hands on the floor at the foot of a wall and put your feet up in the air until they are resting on the wall. Use your feet on the wall to stabilise this position. Even if you’re still leaning against the wall, practice proper form such as elevated shoulders and a straight body line. This promotes good habit. Practice this exercise until you can comfortably hold it for 2 minutes.

Step 4: Half Handstand Push ups

By now you should be able to balance on your hands unsupported. If you can’t, make sure you practice it! Otherwise the position will be dangerous for you. Move into a handstand position and let your elbows drop only slightly before pushing back up. Your head should not touch the floor and you should remember only to bend your arms slightly as this exercise is a soft introduction to the sensation of pushing up while balancing on your hands. You could do it with back against or chest in front of the wall.

Step 5: Handstand Push ups

Adopt the same position and the same exercise as before. This time bend your elbows slightly more and keep your head closer to the ground. During the lowest point of the movement, your head should be in front of your hands. Your whole body will be in an angle, so keep your body straight and tight. Avoid doing an ugly banana handstand push. It’s puts unnecessary strain on your back. Please note that your head should at no point touch the ground in these exercises.

Step 6: Close Handstand Push-ups

Warning: from this point on every exercise is really tough. Adopt the same position as the last exercise, but turn your hands inwards and bring them together so that your fingertips are almost touching. Allow your elbows to bend until your head is near to but still not touching the floor. This exercise gives the sensation of pushing up from a narrow base as you work towards a one-arm handstand.

Step 7: Uneven Handstand Push ups

Use an exercise ball for this exercise. Put one hand on the ball while balancing in the handstand position. You may have to practice balancing in this position before you attempt to perform a push-up. With your hand that is on the floor, allow your elbow to drop and push back up with the same arm. Use your other arm on the exercise ball to help maintain balance and help you push up if you need to.


Step 8: Half One Arm Handstand Push ups

By now you should be attempting to balance on one hand unsupported. Make sure you practice this before attempting to push up. In this position begin to let your elbow drop very slightly before pushing back up, similar to the exercise in step 4.

Step 9: Lever Handstand Push ups

Here you can create the content that will be used within the module.

Step 10: One Arm Handstand Push ups

This is by far the most difficult exercise of the progression (also maybe one of the most difficult in the calisthenics world). If you reached this stage – congratulations! Balance on one hand and let your elbow drop until your head is touching the floor before pushing back up. You may place your legs in a straddle position for better balance. It’s a very difficult progression and it would be amazing if you could complete it.

Just imagine doing the movement. It is a display of unimaginable human strength, balance and body control and you, too, are able to do this given the necessary time, effort and commitment to the move. Training will be difficult. You can do it as long as you don’t give up and are equipped with the necessary resources.


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