Sign Up For The Newsletter!

Beginner Handstand Pushups

Today we’ll look at developing the handstand pushup against the wall. The first step is to obviously throw yourself up against the wall into a handstand. If this is already too great a step, try starting with the headstand until you feel comfortable upside-down.



You should be able to hold this handstand position against the wall for at least 15 seconds before you start working toward the pushup.

When you can hold the static handstand position for an adequate time, throw a pillow on the ground between your hands. You’ll now want to SLOWLY lower yourself to the ground. Please don’t dive head first through your floor! When you get to the ground put your feet down, then kick back up into a handstand and repeat.

These negative repetitions will help to build the necessary pressing strength. During these negative reps, you can work on STOPPING yourself in various positions along the way, as well as pushing back up only a couple inches, instead of the entire way.
So to recap the three methods for building pushup strength:
1. Lower down slowly
2. Stop and hold yourself at various points
3. Try pushing up short distances
Keeping the repetitions low and giving a couple minutes of rest in between your sets will help to build your shoulder strength. You may prefer to work this training into your schedule differently though. With practice, you’ll get strong enough to lower down completely to the ground and press back up. Congratulations, there’s a handstand pushup.�۬

Progressive Exercises

If you’re looking for an exercise other than handstand pushup negatives, there are several others that can help you build up your shoulder strength. Nothing too revolutionary, just different ways of working out your arms and shoulders.

The first exercise is simply to start elevating your feet in the pushup position. You can start by elevating your feet with a chair, and work your way up to a desk or something higher. The higher your feet, the more stress on your shoulders.

I’d also recommend trying pushups with your hands by your sides, leaning forward over your hands. You will feel that this places a great deal of stress on the triceps and shoulders. This is also an excellent pushup variation to help your planche. You can work on elevating your feet for this exercise as well.

The last exercise I’ve heard referred to as a “tiger pushup”. Start with your heels against the wall, then reach down with your hands and put them on the ground a couple feet in front of your feet. You should look like an upside-down “V”.
You’ll notice that your upper body is in a position to work the shoulders. You can now perform pushups in this position, which will work your shoulders but put less stress on them than full-on handstand pushups. Work to elevate the feet in this exercise as well to add more bodyweight to the press and increase difficulty.

Now the obvious question – can’t I just work my military press in the gym? Sure you can. I love to work heavy shoulder presses myself. But get yourself up against the wall and working in a handstand as soon as you can. This will help you get use to pressing while upside-down, which feels different than weightlifting, and will be useful for other skills.

Aug 18, 2010 | Category: Presses & Pushups, Tutorial | Comments: 38


38 Responses to “Beginner Handstand Pushups”

  1. Dude

    Say I can’t even hold a Handstand now . Should i work on HSPU or should i work on the balancing part first? Thanks

    • admin

      You can work both. As they both improve, you can combine them for the freestanding handstand pushup. You do not need to be able to balance a handstand to do a handstand pushup against a wall.

  2. purush

    how do i get strength, I m not able to do even a single rep completely

    • admin

      Instead of feet against a wall, put your feet up onto a box and do the pushup. You will look like you’re in the “down dog” yoga position on the box. This will take some weight off the arms and make the exercise easier. Pick higher and higher boxes until you’re able to do it against a wall.

      • purush

        Then what about trying to do partial reps and building strength does that also work?

        • Matthew

          Partial reps aren’t a good idea because they won’t work the whole range of motion as well. If you can’t do a full rep with your feet raised or a full tiger push up try doing military presses at a gym until you are strong enough to do at least 3. Low rep/high weight exercises are best for getting strong quickly (whatever the highest weight you can do three sets of five in a row is) but it’s also good to mix it up sometimes and throw in patterns your body isn’t used to.

  3. Blake

    When is a good rep indicator that you should move to a higher platform for your feet? (ex. should be able to do 20 pushups with feet on a 20in box before moving to a 30in box

  4. Martynas

    Can handstand pushups replace regular pushups? I want to decrease the push volume, and need the best all-round exercise for push with bodyweight training.


  5. Johnno

    I get sharp pain in my left ‘trap’ when doing handstand pushups ?? Thanks

  6. purush

    I did a lot of partial reps.But I am still not able to lower myself
    down completely and push back up.What should i do to build more strength and balance?

  7. Heidi

    I CANT DO A HANDSTAND PUSH UP!!!!!!!! my head hits the ground and i can’t push back up

  8. jack

    Should ur back face the wall or away from it when ur doing this?

  9. Thanks for the write up mate. I can currently hold a static handstand against the wall for about a minute but have been struggling building strength to actually do handstand pushups. Looks like negatives are the way to go! Cheers.

  10. Mo

    I can do hspu with chest facing wall (not quite all the way down yet though) but I can’t seem to do them with back facing the wall. I don’t know if my hand position is off or what the deal is but it feels awkward and I’m afraid I’ll maim myself? :)

    • admin

      Try doing full range of motion HSPUs with your feet on a box and your hands on parallettes (or similar). This will improve strength through a greater range of motion.

  11. Ana

    I can get pretty close to the ground, but I’m stuck on getting up….

  12. Rifat

    Should i lean forward like free standing headstandpush ups or should my head be in line with my hands? When back facing the wall?

Leave a Reply