The simple way to progress to the Handstand Press Up

The Handstand press up is one of the all-time impressive feats of bodyweight strength, control and balance. Anyone (non-professional) who can comfortably do handstand press ups is in the elite class of physical strength. Handstand press ups place 100% of your bodyweight on your arms, compared with around 60% in normal press ups. If you can’t do press ups, click here to read our guide on smashing them. You should be very comfortable with many reps of regular press ups before attempting handstand press ups, Dips are also a recommended pre-requisite.

Here is a very simple, but not easy, way of progressing to the handstand press up, using our Power Straps.

First, lets look at how the muscles used changes depending on the angle.

Throughout all pressing movements, the Triceps are used to extend the arms. The Triceps are the horseshoe shaped muscles on the back of your arm that contract to ‘open’ your arm from bent to straight.

The Pec Major are the predominant body muscles used in the regular press up, along with the Front Delt. The fibres (below) help illustrate the movement. The upper fibres move the arm inwards and upwards, the lower fibres, inwards and downwards.

As the feet become increasingly elevated, the emphasis moves to the upper Chest and Delts. In the Handstand Press Up the predominant muscles worked are the Delts.

How to progress to the Handstand Press Up.

The best way to progress, is by using our Power Straps and shortening the straps, or moving away from the anchor point, to increase the height of the legs. Beginning with slightly elevated feet will place more weight on your arms compared to feet on the floor press ups. The more you elevate the feet the more weight will be placed on your hands.

Begin with your feet around shoulder height off the ground.

Continue to elevate the feet each session until you are fully vertical, and you are performing the Handstand Press Up.

Simply done, but difficult. These progressions may take weeks or months depending on base levels of strength, but it is the best way of progressing.

Additional exercises to build up pressing strength: Pike Press, Skullcrushers, Tuck Planche Push Ups, Facepulls

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