Most people think of a handstand push-up as an incredible feat of upper body strength. While the benefits to your upper body will be significant, most seem to overlook all of the other amazing benefits like balance, body, and spatial awareness. These physical capacities will transfer and add to many activity and skills. In this 4 part tutorial, I’ll show you the best methods I have to get people from beginner to a solid handstand push-up. Follow these progressions carefully. Be patient and put in the work and time needed and you will have mastered your handstand push-up before you know it.

Handstand Push-Up Progressions

Even if you consider yourself strong, start at Step 1 and see how you do with the first progression. Creating a strong and stable base will actually save you time in the harder progressions. For the most part, this is not a movement that happens overnight so it is important to be patient with yourself.

Step 1- Build A Strong Base

The fundamental work for this movement may not look incredibly powerful or even be a push-up for that matter, but these exercises will build a solid base that will you to break down this skill into manageable steps.

Video Breakdown:

Starting with an under-grip hand position will promote proper head position and help create a stable base for the next step. Hold for 30 – 60 seconds before moving on to more advanced positions.
Pressing from a squat into the tri-pod headstand will increase the difficulty and is the same transition needed for the full handstand push-up.
When in the fully extended headstand, be sure to keep 80 percent of the load on your hands and only 20 on your head. This will keep the balance and control in your hands and limit the strain on your neck and back.
You should be able to do 10 solid press to headstands along with a 30-60 hold in the fully extended position before moving on to Step 2.

Step 2- Increasing Range For Max Gains

Now that you have established a strong base, it’s time to increase the range of the movement with the press to shoulder-stand progression. This progression is sure to build the strength and control needed for a solid handstand push-up in the future.

Video Breakdown:

Using a small tucked body position will help avoid touching the floor during the transition.
Increase the difficulty by pressing into a scorpion shoulder-stand, which will build your posterior chain strength and balance in this position.
Extend into the full shoulder-stand progression to increase the leverage of the movement.
This movement can be performed as a static hold or as a press for reps. You should be able to do 10 solid press to shoulder-stands along with a 30-60 second hold in each position before moving on to Step 3.

Step 3- Kicking To The Top

The next step will use momentum to help you achieve your first handstand push-up. This progression can be broken down into 3 pieces: horizontal, 90-degree handstand, and chest-to-wall handstand. Choose a progression that allows you to maintain quality form and control.

Video Breakdown:

When kicking into a plank position, be sure to focusing on landing with your core engaged and leaning the shoulders forward over your wrists.
Kicking into a 90-degree handstand will help with timing and mobility for more advanced progressions.
Master the kick to handstand push-up by kicking to a full chest-to-wall handstand. We use the chest-to-wall handstand to promote landing in a hollow body position with the core engaged.
You should be able to perform 5 sets of 10 reps with solid form before moving on the Step 4.

Step 4 – Chest-to-Wall Handstand Push-up

Master the foundation of a handstand push-up with the fourth and final progression: the chest-to-wall handstand push-up. This progression will help build the balance and strength needed for more advanced handstand push-up progressions.

Video Breakdown

Starting off in a horizontal pike push-up with your feet against the wall will lighten the resistance needed to perform a chest-to-wall handstand push-up.
Placing the feet on a raised block about hip height will increase the load and prepare you for the full chest-to-wall handstand.
The raised 90-degree handstand push-up progression is also great to help improve mobility in the shoulders.
Using the wall will help improve balance and help with more advanced progressions like the freestanding handstand push-up.