Accomplishing your first handstand pushup is a life event you’ll never forget! But for many people, the road to get there can be bumpy and often the end can feel out of reach.
It’s common to work for months to years with little progress. Let’s face it, if you don’t have a plan, it is difficult to make your goal a reality.
There are many benefits to being able to perform a handstand pushup, including building strength in the shoulders and lats, improving balance, and, maybe the best, showing off your new skill to your friends and family!
My goal is to help you build a plan that is simple, effective and time efficient for you to get your first handstand push-up!
STEP 1 – COMMIT TO YOUR GOAL AND DEVELOP A PLAN
Having a goal and committing to it are two different things.
Identify your goal, ask yourself why you want to accomplish it, and how you’ll feel when you do.
Write it down somewhere for you to see everyday, tell others about it, then develop a plan to get there. ‘A goal without a plan, is just a wish.’
STEP 2 – DETERMINE YOUR TIME COMMITMENT TO THE PLAN
The most common barriers to handstand push-ups are upper body strength and high body mass index.
Pick a realistic time frame that will be long enough for you to build strength and/or improve body composition.
For strength building purposes a 12-16 week program is generally recommended.
If you need to improve both strength and body composition, an 8-24 week program containing nutrition, strength, and conditioning components may be needed.
Note – If you need assistance with a game-plan to decrease body composition, schedule a free consultation with our nutrition coach HERE.
Building strength for a handstand pushup can be tricky and if overdone can lead to injury.
To safely improve strength without causing injury, I recommend committing a maximum of two sessions per week with one to two recovery days in between sessions.
Note – If you’re following a program like CrossFit which is generally more shoulder intensive and varied, ask your coach to modify your CrossFit workouts so you don’t overload your shoulders. You can schedule a FREE CONSULTATION with a Lincoln Nutrition & Fitness coach HERE.
STEP 3 – CHOOSE EXERCISES
Performing a handstand push-up requires strength in the shoulders, back and lats.
My favorite, most effective, and time efficient strength building exercises are shoulder press, push-ups, pike push-ups, elevated handstand push-ups and inverted rows.
STEP 4 – SET A FOUNDATION
In any strength building plan it’s important to lay a foundation before beginning the meat of the program.
I like to include a 2-4 week foundation phase into any training plan I’m building.
The foundation phase is important for building a neurological connection (training the muscles to fire properly), gaining better control of your body and gaining confidence in the exercises you’re performing.
This phase generally consists of 2-3 sets of 10-20 reps.
STEP 5 – BUILD MUSCLE
After you’ve finished the foundation phase of your plan, add a hypertrophy (muscle-building) phase.
The hypertrophy phase is important for adding lean body mass to hold onto strength in the future.
In this phase include 3-4 sets of 6-12 reps for each exercise for 3-5 weeks.
STEP 6 – ADD STRENGTH
Now it’s time to increase tensile (high end) strength to the lean muscle you’ve built.
Building strength can take more time, depending on the person, this phase can last 4-6 weeks and is sometimes repeated.
For the strength building phase include 4-7 sets of 1-5 reps.
If you’re still not sure where to start, our coaches can do all the work for you! Schedule a free consultation with a Lincoln Nutrition and Fitness coach HERE.
COACH PHIL KNIEP – Owner & CEO of Lincoln Nutrition & Fitness
Precision Nutrition L1 Coach
CrossFit Level 3 Trainer
3x CrossFit Games Qualifier