Saturday, June 26, 2010

Handstand Pushups

My Body by Science-ish bodyweight workout has sort of bottomed out, not getting sore, so I've decided to shoot for a new goal, a handstand pushup. Here's a great place for progressive bodywieght tutorials, including the handstand pushup. Pistol squats and one-armed pushups would be pretty amazing but right now I'm going to focus on the handstand pushup.

So I've started doing tiger pushups and decline (elevated feet) pushups. Tiger pushups are quite difficult right now and hard to regulate, but the decline pushups can be controlled pretty easily to match strength levels. There's the angle of declension, and how much of your body you actually push up. I am starting with our ottoman, pivoting from the knee which makes it a lot easier and saves my knee which is still healing. As I progress, I will move to using my feet as a fulcrum, then increase the elevation of my feet, gradually approaching vertical. Voila, handstand pushups! That's the idea, at least.

'cheating' decline pushup, beware of kitties!

It is harder to make a linear progression with bodyweight only exercise, you can't just slap on 5 lbs a week, but that is also part of the challenge, what can make it more interesting. Handstand pushups also require more balance, proprioception and core muscle strength than pressing one's own weight with barbells. If I ever master these, I will move onto clap handstand pushups. And pigs might learn to fly, and Tom Cruise might come out of the closet, politicians might tell the truth, world peace, etc. If I could do a handstand clap pushup, anything's possible.

With the new regime, I'm increasing the volume (frequency and reps), and now have no problem getting crazy sore once again. Bodyweight exercise can be adapted to any level. of fitness, in my case, slightly above beginner. I'm trying to get the wife interested in strength training, she's added some HIIT training which is halfway there, but I think a pure strength training session at least once a week is important especially as one approaches and passes 40.


  1. I made this a goal for myself also. I found that doing Overhead Press greatly increased my ability. I started with 95lbs at five reps 2or 3x /wk as well as doing Tabata Push ups and multiple burn out sets. I was able to do 5 Hand stand push ups by the end of the first month!

  2. I'm jealous Mike. I avoid the gym these days so pressing is out for me, but it is hard to work press type muscles without actually pressing or being able to do a handstand pushup. I've been doing tiger pushups but I'm not crazy about them. You'll be up to clap handstands by the time I've done one.

  3. I don't go to the gym either. I've got a buddy who'll score me a quest pass every once in a blue moon. But I've got my garage semi set up. A bar with some weights, a bench off Craigslist, and an old squat rack that was given to me:)

    You can always grab a bag of play sand from Home Depot, anything heavy to lift over your head should work.

  4. We live in a small flat, any excess room is taken up by toys, so no room for equipment of any sort save bags of cat sand, water bottles, etc.