CrossFit Movements: The Handstand Push-Up

CrossFit is a competitive exercise sport that is growing more in popularity every year. The sport consists of many workouts and exercises that push athletes to the absolute limit. One of the more challenging exercises in the sport of CrossFit is the handstand push-up. If done properly, the handstand push-up is a rare body weight exercise that will give you an excellent shoulder and core workout.


The handstand push-up is very simple in nature in which all that is required for it is a wall. To perform a handstand push-up, you merely kick yourself up on the wall, with your feet touching, so that you are upside down. After that is accomplished, you let yourself down to let you’re head hit the ground and push yourself back up fully to the lock-out position. Sounds simple right? This is one of the toughest exercises because your height and weight affect the easiness of it. Imagine having two hundred and twenty-five pounds to push up as opposed to someone who only weighs one hundred and eighty-five pounds. Or being six foot-four instead of only five foot-ten. It is still tough no matter what, but being taller and heavier definitely has its consequences with this exercise.


To perform a handstand push-up, start about five feet from the wall. Place your hands, on the mat or ground, a little more than shoulder width apart. Also, make sure your hands are a little further away from the wall, so they will be in front of your head when you go upside down. If done right, this will create a triangle between your hands and your head.

To kick up on the wall, simply swing one leg into the air and use that momentum to let the other follow. While doing this, you are simultaneously keeping you arms extended and squeezing your core to help balance yourself. You will use the wall as your way of stopping, but be careful not to hit the wall too hard, otherwise you can potentially lose your upside down position and have to start over. Once you are successfully upside down on the wall, you are now ready to start performing handstand push-ups. To do this, just simply let yourself down where your head touches the ground or mat and push yourself up.

There are two different ways you can do a handstand push-up. You can either do strict or kipping. The strict is a lot harder because with strict handstand push-ups, you are just using your arms to push yourself up. Kipping handstand push-ups involve bringing your legs down, almost to your chest, and shooting them up in to the air. This will help give you some momentum and make it easier to push yourself up.


For some people, this exercise may come easy to them in that they will have it within ten minutes of being shown. For others, it may take a little longer while also having to do some training exercises to help them get to where they need to be to achieve it. There are a few training exercises you can do directly involving the movements of a handstand push-up. It is not uncommon for people to get nervous about kicking up in to the upside down position. A great way to practice is to just kick up upside down and hold yourself up for as long as you can. Once you are comfortable being upside down, you can practice letting yourself down very slowly. This is called a negative handstand push-up and can ultimately help you get the strength you need to push yourself back up. You can also do dumbbell presses while sitting or standing.