4 Simple Tips for Strict Handstand Push Ups
Achieving freestanding strict handstand push ups doesn’t have to be complicated. Simplify your training focus with these 4 tips. Free HSPU workout included.
Welcome, I’m Summerfunfitness. I am an entirely self-taught female calisthenics athlete.
My goal is to simplify calisthenics training so you can unlock incredible bodyweight strength regardless of your ability to access a gym.
4 Things to Focus on for Strict Handstand Push Ups
If you’re searching for a way to stay motivated in your calisthenics training, make handstand push ups your goal!
Train with a Purpose
Having this one goal will give purpose to your training. You’ll hit your core workouts, dips, push ups, handstand training and shoulder mobility with more intention as you know these exercises will help you get closer to your goal. Here’s where to start…
If the goal is to obtain a strict handstand push up, then being able to hold a handstand is a must. For it to be considered a strict HSPU (handstand push up), you would return to a handstand (ears between shoulders) between each rep.
Do you have to be able to hold a handstand to do a handstand push up?
If your goal is to do a strict handstand push up, then yes. Ideally you’d be able to hold a handstand for at least a minute. However, if you have massive pushing strength and don’t care about strict form, you may be able to rep out a few limited range of motion handstand push ups before toppling over.
For calisthenics training, I recommend learning how to hold a straight and consistent handstand before attempting handstand push ups. Being able to control your handstand will also decrease your chances of injury (from falling out).
#3 Master the Hollow Body
The hollow body position is CRUCIAL for calisthenics training. Mastering the hollow body will allow you to achieve many more calisthenics skills quickly like human flags, handstands, planches..etc.
Ideally, you would have a solid, hollow body hold before attempting a handstand push up to prevent compression in your lower spine. It’s common to see people attempt a HSPU with an arched body (banana shape), this is not ideal, but it does require less strength (but more chance of injury from lack of core strength and low back compression).
If you are quite strong and controlled in your backbends, you could work towards a scorpion handstand push up instead of a strict handstand push up.
#2 Focus on Calisthenics Pushing Strength
This is the MOST NEGLECTED portion of a handstand push up that I see on social media. Understand that to do a handstand push up you must have the ability to push your entire body weight up. If you currently struggle with push ups or dips, this is where you need to focus the majority of your time and effort.
If handstand push ups are your primary goal, schedule at least 2 calisthenics push days a week into your workout program. On your days off, add in handstand training and hollow body core work (daily). For a core routine, check out the start of this human flag workout.
#1 Strict Handstand Push Up Technique
When learning how to do handstand push ups, your initial thought might be to just go for it by bending your elbows and hoping for the best. Typically, this won’t yield the best results. Instead, focus on:
Top Technique Tips for a Handstand Push Up
- Set your hands the same width you would for a push up (wider than a regular handstand)
- Shift forward on a diagonal before bending through the elbows
- Ensure your elbows stay stacked over wrists (use yoga blocks to train this form queue – see picture below)
- Maintain a hollow body position – don’t collapse through the low back
How to Perform a Strict Handstand Push Up
Here are the 12 steps I go through when completing a freestanding handstand push up:
- Find a solid, still handstand
- Grip through the ground
- Push high through the shoulders as much as you can (shoulder elevation)
- Hold your core & glutes in a hollow body position
- Shift diagonally
- Initiate the movement by bending at the elbows
- Lower so your chest is directly between your hands
- Squeeze across the chest
- Elbows stay directly on top of wrists
- Exhale at the most challenging part (the bottom position)
- Keep your core & glutes in a hollow body
- Push-up back to a handstand
Read How to Handstand Push Up for more details.
Summary: How to Get Your Strict Freestanding Handstand Push Up
- Practice the form queues (make sure you do the elbow over wrist queue in all pushing movements)
Resource: How to Handstand Push Up
- Focus on dramatically increasing your bent arm pushing strength
Resource: Handstand Push Day Workout
- Incorporate hollow body drills into your daily workout routine
Resource: 7 Minute Core Routine
- Practice handstands
Resource: Beginner Handstand Workout