3 Key Progressions For The Handstand Push Up

Achieving another calisthenics skill like a handstand push up can require an insane amount of errors.

Like shaving your beard the first time.

It looks like you have no idea what you are doing and takes much longer than you think it does.

You use excessive amounts of pressure, skip a few patches left and right and it rarely looks as effortless as those Gillet shaving commercials.


So you ask someone who knows. Hone your skills. Explore your options.

Invest some time in learning the skills of the art and spend less time on covering your face with plasters from bloody cuts. 

Calisthenics is no different. You need to learn the skill by making the errors. BUT you need to learn from those errors. 

These 3 key progressions will shave off hours of trial-and-error.





In order to achieve a free standing handstand push up, you’ll need to master the free standing handstand first.

There is no need to attempt this skill if you don’t have the basics down.


Key Takeaway: Strong wrists and a solid handstand and will prevent injuries and plateaus.

Balance pushing exercises with pulling exercises to develop a balanced shoulder joint.



1. Pike Push Ups



Primary focus: Developing pushing strength in the shoulders to transition to a wall handstand push up.


1. First start with your feet next to each and your hands on the ground while keeping your hips as high in the air as possible.

2. Make sure your head is in between your arms and look at the floor in between your hands.

3. Slowly bend your arms until your nose touches the floor while protracting your shoulder blades.

4. Push yourself upwards until you reach your starting position.


Mastery at 5×15 repetitions. 



2. Wall Handstand Push Up & Eccentric Progression



Primary focus: Developing strength for the free standing handstand push up and coming back to a straight line.


1. First start by walking up to the walk with your chest facing the wall.

2. Bring your body close to the wall and adopt a fully straight line. Only your toes make contact with the wall. You might have to increase your distance to the wall depending on the length and shape of your body.

3. Keep your head between your arms and look down between your hands.

4. Contract your entire body as you would in a plank position: Glutes, abs, calfs and point your toes.

5. Lower yourself until your nose touches the floor. Eccentric version: Slide your legs down to the side and repeat.

6. Full version: Push yourself up until you get back into a straight line.


Eccentric: Mastery at 5×5×10 seconds. 

Full version: Mastery at 5×5 repetitions. 



3. Free Standing Handstand Push Up & Eccentric Progression



Primary focus: Developing the handstand push up as a solid skill.


1. First start by placing your hands on the floor while keeping your head between your arms.

2. Kick up with one leg while keeping your arms straight and in a handstand position.

3. Bring the other leg in the air and try to find your point of balance. Having a spotter is highly recommended.

4. Change legs, in order to develop a proper kick up on both sides.

5. When you find your balance focus on getting a completely straight line by contracting your body.

6. Slowly lower yourself until your nose touches the floor. Eccentric version: Bring your legs to the floor and repeat.

7. Full version: Push yourself up while keeping a straight body until your achieve a straight line again.


Eccentric: Mastery at 5×5×10 seconds. 

Full version: Mastery at 5×5 repetitions. 



Get Upside Down


We all know that first-times are often a deception. 

Trying your first muscle up. Your first handstand push up. Shaving for the first time. 

Bloody cuts. Missed patches. Too much shaving cream.

Embrace that you suck, but don’t accept it as a given.


Spend less time on errors. Learn from your mistakes. 

And make sure you stretch your limits.

Just a little bit more.


Beast mode ON!


Now I’d like to hear from you:

Did you like this post?

Or maybe you have a question.

Either way, leave a quick comment below right now.




7 thoughts on “3 Key Progressions For The Handstand Push Up

  1. Rich hi
    for some reason ive only done them with my back to the wall
    thats a mistake right
    no wonder i cant do it free standing
    will now try it reversed
    thanks for the tip

  2. Came here from the mail i received. It also said
    “Make sure you leave a comment, because it means I’ll be writing more useful stuff in the future. ”
    Really like this posts and the fact that you send them to the e-mail. You teach, you give your opinions, and you tell us we suck, yet still pushing and motivating to get better. About the e-mail part, since i spend most time studying i dont usually visit sites outside youtube, so having a notification is great.
    About the excercise, i’ve started the begginer routine 2 weeks ago, so i have a long way before even trying this, but surely i’ll get there.

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