Road to Handstand Push-Up’s: Part 1 – The Push-Up

Handstand push-ups are, for some people, a very intimidating movement in CrossFit. The gymnastics movement is difficult, but not impossible! The HSPU is not only great for building upper body and shoulder strength, but they’re also wonderful for training one of our 10 General Physical Skills – balance.

“Balance – the ability to control the placement of the body’s center of gravity in relation to its support base.”

Yet, before we can run we must first be able to crawl. So, here’s your start point! The goal is to work up to 10 standard push-ups before we move on to getting inverted and working HSPU progressions. We want to be absolutely sure that the upper body is strong enough to support the Handstand position. It all starts with a regular push-up.

We’ve listed multiple progressions for the standard push-up below. Start at the toughest progression you’re able to do properly. Once you can bang out sets of 10-15 at a particular difficulty level, it’s time to move to a more difficult progression. Again, the goal is to be able to do 10 or more regular push-ups to standard – chest to deck at the bottom of the rep, and full elbow extension at the top of the rep – before you move on to the HSPU progressions.

If you plan to do this as a stand alone extrIMG_1463a workout try this..

Day 1 – 3-5 x 8 reps every minute on the minute (EMOM) for ten minutes. When you can do 8 or more reps, move to the next progression. If you can’t complete more than 3 reps inside of a minute, move to an easier progression for the rest of the workout.

Day 2 – Set your clock to count down from 3:00 and do as many reps as possible before the clock hits 0:00. Add fifteen seconds each week until you reach 5:00 or until you’re strong enough to move into HSPU progressions (at least 10 unbroken standard push-ups).

Day 3 – Do 100 reps of your progression throughout the day. You can do these anywhere!

If you’re following our strict pull-up program as well, these modifications can be used for your 3 x 10-15 push-ups every other workout. Be sure to rest a few minutes between each set. Have fun, and good luck!

Push-Up Progressions

Wall push-up
Hands elevated push-up on 30″ box
Hands elevated push-up on 24″ box or bench
Hands elevated push-up on 20″ box
Knee push-ups with up to 3 ab mats under chest – remove one ab mat at a time as you are able to do sets of 10-15
Knee push-ups
Standard push-ups – 1 on the minute for 10 minutes working toward 3 push-ups on the minute for 10 minutes.
Standard push ups 3 sets of max reps
Once you can do 10 unbroken standard push-ups you are ready to start working HSPU progressions!

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