The handstand push-up – also known as the vertical push-up or press up – is a push-up exercise where the body is positioned in a handstand. A proper handstand push-up is performed free-standing, so without wall support. This advanced move requires significant strength, as well as balance and control of the core body.

How to start with the handstand push-up?

Even advanced street workout athletes find the handstand push-up a difficult exercise. Your arms and shoulders must be able to carry 100% of your bodyweight, but you also need to keep balance at the same time. With the following exercises you can strengthen your body and progress towards a full free standing press-up.

90 degree decline pushup

90 degree decline push-up calisthenicsLet your feet rest on a table or waist high object, while your hands are placed on the ground with your head towards the ground. Your hips should be in a 90 degree angle. With this exercise you can train the motion of a press-up, but without the need to carry you full body weight. Once you feel comfortable you can make it more challenging by raising one leg straight up in the air. Now it will be more difficult to keep your balance.

Handstand with wall support

negative handstand press-upIn the beginning it’s difficult to keep balance. By performing a handstand with wall support, your body and arms can get used to an upside down position. You should be able to hold this handstand position against the wall for at least 15 seconds before you start working toward the vertical push-up.

When your shoulders aren’t strong enough for a press up yet, you can try the reverse. Instead of pressing yourself up, let your body slowly decline till your head hits the ground. First try with two feet against the wall. To make is slightly more difficult, try with only one foot touching the wall. Remember to keep the motion slow and controlled.

Kipping handstand push up

kipping-handstand-push-up-calisthenicsYou start in a handstand position with wall support. Now let your body decline slowly until you can let your head rest on the ground. Let your legs come down slowly by bending you knees. Now you’re going to use your legs to ‘kick’ yourself up again. By kicking your legs up, it becomes slightly easier to push yourself up at the same time. See the video tutorial below for an example.