The "how to" on handstand push-ups for YOU

December 03, 2015

My absolute favorite movement (bodyweight) to see when I walk into the gym are those 4 letters- HSPU. Yes, handstand push-ups! I freaking love them but then I see some of my gym mates and they just have looks of agony on their faces but it’s not because they don’t want to do HSPU it’s because they don’t know how. And they aren’t going to learn in the next 15 minutes.I have seen some try that have never attempted them before and it just looks like they are going to break their neck… by all means go ahead and try but just be careful.

HSPUs are not easy. It takes time and practice to be efficient at them. I remember my journey to getting a strict handstand push-up then learning how to kip so I could do “Diane” without it taking me forever and a day. I have to admit the fact I'm height challenged does make my range of motion shorter but they are still hard (tall people and wallballs know what I mean).

I have seen a couple ways to learn how to do a HSPU but before we get into that there are progressions to getting completely inverted against a wall. Here is a great demonstration by Barbell Shrugged. 

I learned by going through these progressions and it worked out really well for me. It shows how to scale properly to get us to the movement then working your way to becoming completely vertical. I know some friends that just hate being upside down, they have the strength to do it but being inverted feels super unnatural to them. The scaling options are just as effective because they are working the same muscles.

The other technique on how to do a HSPU is more a gymnastic method with Coach Carl Paoli - Freestyle Connection. I did not learn how to do them this way but everyone learns differently so this might be more for you!

Part 1

Part 2

Another thing that gets underestimated when learning how to do a HSPU is how to kick up into a handstand against the wall. I remember in the beginning that was the scariest part for me but now I don’t even think twice about it. You have to play around with your hand placement how wide or narrow you want to be, how close or far away from the wall you have to be because that is crucial to be in a stable and comfortable hollow body position. You don’t want to have a super arched back where you are shooting your rib cage out, shoulders drop, your neck isn’t in a neutral position.

You can do your own research or ask your coach at your gym but this was the best demonstration I found on how to kick up into a handstand on the wall.

After all this is said and done, you can work towards getting a strict handstand push-up! The first video dabbles on it in the beginning but Coach Carl Paoli thoroughly explains the mechanics of it.

I know this might not be your favorite bodyweight movement but burpees are worse and we can all do those.


This is a guest post from Linda Hong, CF-L1 Certified and WOD Nation Team Leader. You can always expect to hear back from Linda about any inquires on WOD Nation gear. She is usually traveling around the globe so catch her if you can! For more Linda, you can follow her on Instagram or email

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