Why Should You Learn The Handstand Push Up

The handstand push up is the pinnacle of calisthenics pushing exercises. It improves balance, body control, and range of motion in the shoulders and upper body. The handstand push up will unlock many more dynamic calisthenics exercises as well as greatly strengthen the muscles in your shoulder and improving your ability to handstand walk and hold a static handstand.

What Muscles Are Used In The Handstand Push Up

The handstand push up specifically targets muscles in these muscle groups

  • Shoulders
  • Triceps
  • Chest
  • Upper Back

However, to a lesser extent, push-ups also hit the muscles in these areas:

  • Core
  • Lower Back
  • Forearms

Level 1: Pike Push ups

The pike push up is a variation that places a lot of strain on your shoulders but is essentially an assisted handstand push up. To perform the pike push up enter the standard push up position and slowly walk your hands backward as far as you can. You will then do a push up loading your weight onto your shoulders and pushing back up keeping your elbows tucked towards your body. Keep raising your legs on to a higher elevation to make this exercise harder until you are almost vertical.

Typical Routine: 3 sets of 10 repetitions

Level 2: Wall Assisted Handstand Push Up Negatives

Against the wall, get into a handstand position. It helps to be able to hold a freestanding handstand to make sure you are properly vertical to the wall. Once you are in position slowly lower yourself to the bottom of the handstand position. Once there you can roll out of the handstand. You can increase the range of motion by holding on to parallettes. These will allow you to do a deeper handstand push up.

Level 3: Wall Assisted Handstand Push Up

Once you are comfortable and built up the strength to do handstand push up negatives you will be able to do full wall-assisted handstand push ups. The wall will eliminate the need to find your balance during the handstand while getting you used to the up and down motion of the handstand push up. You can progress this exercise by kicking a leg off the wall during each rep.

Level 4: Freestanding Handstand Push Up Negatives

It’s time to get off the wall! From a regular static handstand hold begin to lower yourself to the bottom of the handstand position. Using parallettes will give you a deeper handstand push up negative and help you develop strength and stability faster. If you are scared, have a friend spot you to prevent yourself from rolling forward.

Level 5: Full Handstand Push Up

As you build strength and stability through handstand push up negatives you will eventually unlock full handstand push ups. Congratulations! If doing these on the ground become too easy for you, you can follow the same progressions on high parallel bars, or even gymnastics rings.

If you want to try other pushing exercises check out these push up variations.