5 Steps to Achieve Your Handstand Push-up

Whether you’re a beginner or already well into your own calisthenics journey, achieve your first handstand push-up with a customized HSPU (handstand push-up) training routine.

Working on high-level skills as a calisthenics beginner can genuinely be frustrating!

Trust me, I know. When I first made handstand push-ups my goal, I couldn’t even hold a handstand for 2 seconds…

Through exploring and experimenting, I not only achieved my calisthenics goals, but I developed a plan to help others achieve theirs too!

Welcome, I’m summerfunfitness. I am a completely self-taught calisthenics athlete-meaning I have gone through the same highs and lows you are going through right now.

Together, we will have you reaching your goals in an efficient, timely fashion and have you living the healthy, high-functioning life you’ve dreamed about.

strict freestanding handstand push up

Take Action

It’s great to be educated on a subject, but at some point, you will actually have to do something with that information. 

So, let’s get started! Grab a pen and paper. It’s time to build your handstand push-up routine.

Step 1: Select your Daily Training Goals

There are three (4) main components of the handstand push-up that you must consistently work on to achieve this advanced calisthenics move.

  1. Pushing Strength
  2. Handstand Balance
  3. Core Strength
  4. Handstand Push Up Technique

You might hate me for saying this….but you really do have to get good at push-ups to do a handstand PUSH-UP. That makes sense, right?

Start by choosing a mini push-up routine that can be done 4x per week for 10 minutes or less to increase your overall pushing volume. My favourite routine is doing 10 push-ups every minute for 10 minutes – otherwise known as an EMOM (every minute on the minute). I use this as a “burnout” at the end of my training sessions throughout the week. I tend to start with the hardest push-up progression I can do, then move to an easier variation as time goes on.

Example: Wall HSPU to Knee Push-ups.

My 100 push-ups a day for 30 days program was essential to achieving my first handstand push-up.

scorpion handstand push ups

What if you don’t know how to do a handstand?

To get good at performing handstands, you have to consistently incorporate handstand training into your regular workouts.

Remember: to get better at something, you must actually put time into training. Get to the gym, warm up, then do at LEAST 10 minutes of handstand training before your workout 4x per week. 

You can also have designated handstand training days. I typically have two (2) sessions per week dedicated to handstand training.

Not sure where to start? Check out my Beginner Handstand Follow Along Workout.

head in handstand

Do You Need a Strong Core for Handstand Push Ups?

It’s no secret that calisthenics athletes have strong cores, and there’s a reason for that. A strong core unlocks many calisthenics skills – the handstand push-up is no different.

If you find your handstand often looks more like a banana than a pole, it’s time to work on your core control.

Schedule at least seven (7) minutes of core 4x per week to obtain your handstand push-up. Check out my follow-along handstand core routine here.

You’ve got this! Just add in handstands at the start of your workout plus some core, ending with push-ups. If that’s too much, then do your push-ups on your rest days or on your lunch break at work.

The key is consistently incorporating core work into your workout plan.

calisthenics girl flexing abs

Step 2: Select Your Main Handstand Push Up Progression 

If you are serious about achieving an incredible handstand push-up (HSPU), then I would recommend training calisthenics push 2x per week. 

Your push day should be centred around your hardest handstand push-up progression.

Cluster Sets
Start with 1-3 reps of a HSPU progression you can comfortably perform. Determine a total amount of reps you would like to hit (say 10+), then perform the exercises using rests when needed to reach your total rep goal. This form of training is referred to as a “cluster set.” Remember, this is the most challenging exercise on your calisthenics push day – so take your time. Make it count. 

7 Exercises to Get Your Handstand Push-Up 

strict handstand push up

Step 3: Select Your Supplemental Handstand Push Up Exercises

Now that you’ve chosen your “strength set” (step 2), it’s time to fill in the rest of your workout. Select 2-4 supplemental exercises that translate to handstand push-ups. Perform higher repetitions than the previous exercises. Example: 12-15 reps for 3 sets.

Ensure you are working both the eccentric and concentric portion of the movement.

Eccentric refers to the “lowering” or the “negative” portion of the exercise where the muscle being worked is lengthened. Examples: Lowering portion of a pull-up, lowering portion of a push-up, or the lowering part of a dip.

Concentric refers to the pushing up component of the handstand push-up.

Freestanding Handstand Push-Up Progressions

handstand push up progression crow lift offs
wall assisted handstand push ups
handstand push up progression bent arm press

Step 4: Program Mobility Drills for Handstand Push Ups

For a handstand push-up, you need to focus on:

1. Shoulder mobility

shoulder mobility for handstand push ups

2. Wrist Mobility

wrist mobility for handstand push up

3. Hip extension

bridge for scorpion handstand push up

Focus on one main flexibility goal at a time. It’s best to start out with working on the area that is the least mobile in your body. 

Incorporate a warm-up at the start of your workout that aligns with your goals – performing a few drills dynamically for 12-20 reps. For a shoulder mobility routine, click here. For a wrist routine, click here. 

Then, at the end of your session, focus on holding your specific stretch for 30sec – 90 seconds for long deep breaths. 

For a shoulder warm-up routine, click here. 

Step 5: Write Down Your Handstand Push Up Training Program

Take action! This is why you are here today. In the comments below, tell me:

  1. How many days a week will you add in ten (10) minutes of handstand training?
  2. Will you commit to seven (7) minutes of core 4x per week? If so, when are you going to do it? E.g. During your workout, at lunch, on your hike..etc
  3. Are you going to try out the 100 push-ups for 30 days challenge?
  4. How many days a week will you train calisthenics push/ handstand push-ups?
  5. What is your mobility focus? Do you need more mobile wrists, shoulders or both?
  6. What handstand push-up progression (HSPU) will you focus on for the strength component of your workout?
  7. What are your go-to supplemental exercises? (These are exercises you can perform three (3) sets of 12-15 reps).
strict handstand push ups

Now that you know know how to train for a handstand push-up it’s time to learn how to actually do a handstand push-up. Need help with a handstand workout routine? Perfect your handstand with this push Day workout.

strict handstand push ups

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