If you have a solid push up and have found yourself wanting a bigger challenge, I suggest you give the handstand push up a try. Below, I will lay out some fundamental movements to get you into a handstand push up. With strength, time, patience and a lot of practice, you’ll nail them!
We will begin with the “start” and “finish” position of a handstand push up.. .a headstand. I have also come to know this as “the frog stand”.
Use a mat for your head and place in front of you on the floor. Set your hands on either side of the mat, creating a 3 point position (triangle). Head out front, hands across from each other – in front of the head. Tuck your chin to your chest and place your head in the center of the mat. Make sure your hands are in your vision when inverted. This position is what we call the “tripod” position.
From here, you will learn to balance each knee on each elbow near the tricep. This will take some practice but you’ll get it.
Step 1 – Headstand
Once you’ve established balance, keeping your abdominals engaged, you will pull your knees off of your elbows and bring your back flat, stacking your hips over your shoulders. Make sure you’re keeping your legs close together, as wide knees can throw you off balance. Extend your legs fully but keep your tripod position.
I find it best to practice this part with your back toward a wall to prevent falling over. It often happens when you first begin. Spending time learning how to establish a flat back and hips stacked with legs extended will allow for better mechanics in the movement itself. This is the base of your handstand push up. and this position is necessary when we get into kipping handstand push ups in my next article.
Next we will practice extending the body and pressing into a handstand. It’s best to work with a partner here.
From the tripod position and hips stacked over the shoulders, and legs fully extended, you will press your hands into the floor until your body (and arms) go into full extension. Maintain feet together. As you extend, you will bring your head and shoulders in alignment with your body. This is a very difficult position and requires a great deal of upper body strength. Essentially, you are overhead pressing your entire body weight! If working with a partner, your partner can assist you by placing both hands around your thigh and helping to lift you as you press into extension. You can practice this in the center of the floor, but only if you have a partner!
Here are some options if practicing alone:
1. place your feet on a box and use a couple of mats under your head to reduce your range of motion. As you get stronger, you can remove the mats as your strength allows.
2. practice against a wall with a couple of mats, this option is more difficult as you are supporting more of your body weight.
Good luck, be safe, have fun and let me know if I can help you!