We all know that competitive CrossFitters, weekend warriors, and everyone in between has struggled with handstand pushups to some degree. Whether you're just learning them, can string a few together, or are fairly efficient, actually having to meet a standard on 15.4 that required a narrower hand-stance and full extension brought even the most gymnasty to their knees.
Just like with any movement, progressions that build technique and strength are the road we all must take to mastery; sometimes efficiency even requires taking a step back and practicing the correct movement over, and over...and over. Check out the following infographic from CrossFit Kyoto to see the progressions for a strict HSPU and the video from the master himself, Carl Paoli for efficiency tips on the kipping HSPU.
Some key points to take away:
1. Start from the ground up...literally
The purpose of these progressions is to gradually shift more weight into your shoulders while keeping in good position, starting with your feet on the ground and elevating them as you progress.
2. Be consistent
You can't do these progressions for two days and expect perfection, like with anything, perfect practice makes perfect. Work these progressions into your training every other day for a few weeks and you will most definitely see results.
3. Position is most important
The last three progressions focus on holding a wall walk into a handstand for :30 and then kicking up into a full handstand for 1:00 before you attempt a HSPU. Build strength and good positioning first. Flailing around with three abmats under your head is unlikely to be the answer.
4. Don't start kipping the second you get your first strict HSPU
If you've mastered a couple strict HSPUs and are itching to string together kipping, tap the breaks and watch Carl Paoli's GymnasticsWod videos below. The first shows progressions from the ground, and the second takes those movements to the wall. Again, starting from the ground (tri-pod with elbows on knees) and slowly incorporating the use of your hips will ensure efficiency in the end.
Like with any movement, learning the basics and gaining an understanding of what your body is doing is key to successful, injury-free, efficient execution. After what might have been the largest accumulation of no-reps in Open history, I think we can all take a second to humble ourselves and take it back to the basics.
Other handstand push up tips:
Alessandra Pichelli: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbqHHcTHKdo