T Nation

Hand Stand Push Ups

Does anyone know the best methods for training to do hand stand ups? I have tried elevated weighted push ups, Jerks, push presses, super heavy dips, etc. The best I’ve been able to do so far is a DAMN head stand.
Thanks for the input.

Ken,

What does the hand stand push ups accomplish? muscle strength? extra blood flow or is it just an ego boost in the gym?

I would guess that db shoulder presses and practice would help.

I’m not sure how, but I really want to be able to do one! I had never thought about it until just now, but it would look pretty cool. There are lots of Yoga sites about how to do a headstand… and regular overhead presses coupled with pushups with your legs progressivly closer to verticle would probably help. I’ll post if I ever come close to accomplishing this.

It’s a matter of strength. It’s that plain and simple. It will also develop superior strength in the delts and triceps.
As far as an ego boost in the gym I don’t need it, beside there isn’t anyone worth impressing. I am just looking for a different strength exercise.

I work up to them by propping my feet up against a wall, and then I progress to using a training partner who helps me through the sticking point. The gymnasts that I know use a small frame that allows them to lower their heads lower than their hands. As far as what it accomplishes, all the gymansts who do them have tremendous deltoid development.

Start by doing a handstand up against a wall and just do a negative: slowly lower yourself until your head hits the ground. Lower yourself as slowly as possible…aim for at least 5 seconds to lower yourself. Once your head hits, just stand up and start over again since you’re not yet strong enough to raise yourself back up. Repeat this for a few reps and you’re done. Eventually you’ll build the strength to do the concentric part. It would help if you train triceps and shoulders on the same day, because if you’re serious about this, you’ll want to recover adequately between sessions. Remember to exhale and relax…if you build up too much pressure in your head while you’re upside down, it’s possible for blood vessels in your eyes to burst, which is no big deal but it just looks bad. By the way, I think this is as much a neurological adaptation as it is strength. The most I can use for overhead dumbell presses is 70lb d-bells for about 4-5 reps, but I weigh 190 and can do a few sets of 8-10 handstand pushups (all the way down) easily, just because I’ve been practicing them for a while. Oh yeah…it’s much easier to do reps when you start in the extended position and lower yourself because the stretch-reflex comes into play. Starting from your head and raising yourself from a stop is much harder.

Get yourself a stack of books, or better yet a stack of weight plates covered by a towel. Do partials and every workout remove a plate, increasing your ROM. After you get to the point where you can touch your forehead to the ground, start elevating your hands to really get the full range. This will probably be hard, but supposedly Paul Anderson did these (among other things) for shoulder strength, and if he could do them at 300lbs. plus, you should be able to get it…

The side press (using a barbell for a one-handed behind the neck press) might help too.

blah…they’re good to learn in case you want to workout, and don’t have access to a gym.

Matt Furey had a great book called combat conditioning that goes into detail about bodyweight exercises including handstand pushups. When I first started these, I could not even do a handstand. After struggling for several days I managed to do a handstand and complete one rep. That was a big rush and I built up to 25 reps in about 6 weeks from there. It is really a matter of practice. You have to get used to being in an awkward position and handling your own bodyweight from an unusual angle. Once you can do the regular handstand pushup, trying getting some stools and doing full range Handstand pushups. Those are a real bitch and will build some serious strength. I can only do two in a row right now!

This kind of stuff gets me jacked! I came across this post last night and immediately tried to do a handstand…couldn’t even do a stinkin’ handstand! Tried it again this morning, got the handstand down. Now it’s just a matter of doing some reps. I know you guys suggest starting with eccentric reps, any tips on how to get in the starting position (ie, arms fully extended) without any assistance (no partner)?

just make sure you don’t do more than one set!

Timbo, you gotta do this up against a wall. Unless you’re a circus freak, you won’t be able to do these right away without balancing against something. Face wall, place hands on ground, and kick your legs up. Start extended and lower yourself. Repeat.

A great exercise to build up to handstand pushups is the reverse pushup! Lie on your back put your hand back towards your ears, elbos out and press back towards your head. Your body should look like a an arc in the top position. Great triceps and back exercise and great for funtional strength. These are a good supplement to handstand pushups.