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Coach Sommer

Fastest Way to Build Handstand Pushups

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Coach Sommer

The fastest way to build strength in handstand pushups also happens to be the easiest; simply spend more time in a handstand. Anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes should be appropriate for most athletes. This is total time including both work and rest, although try not to go overboard with rest times.

Free balancing on the rings is the absolute king and will lead to strength increases over an incredible range of exercises. Next is free balancing on either the floor or parallets. Finally for those who are as yet unable to free balance, wall handstands will also give a nice return for the effort involved.

Another tip that will help to increase your HSPU strength is to simply hold some of your handstands in a bent arm position. This is actually quite a bit of fun and helps to break up the monotony.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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Felipe

Thanks for your advice, Coach.

BTW I think that balancing improves following a sort of scheme:

handstand on a wall is like a 1/3x improvement

handstand 1x

handstand on p-bar 2x

handstand on rings 10x

After a day of training on rings, I felt extremely confortable with my handstand, specially in my latissimus dorsi.

For the HSPU, an important point is to increase the ROM: I can barely do 1 HSPU on p-bars, instead of my 10 on floor.

To increase that I'm using books or bricks.

It's also a good idea to work on negatives (when I can't do the full movement I do only the lowering or the raising part)

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John Sapinoso

^really? i find handstands are easiest on p-bars...

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David Picó García

me too, and i have a very bad handstand

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kbryk

Reason why P-bar handstand pushups are hard because most of the time you go past the 90 degree bent arm angle and that makes them a hell of a lot tougher, I've been working on handstands on rings at school lately after floor handstands and rings are killer, I can't keep a steady handstand for longer than 5 seconds, I just started working these this week.

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David Picó García

i was talking about handstand not handstand pushups, which of course are harder than on floor. But for me is easyer to mantain equilibrium in pbars than on floor, which surprise me a lot because i thought it would be the opposite way. on rings... i daren't do it :oops:

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kbryk

On p-bars if you do a handstand correctly by completely shrugging out your shoulders it is pretty tough, also on p-bars you can use your wrists to help balance out but on floor it's not as easy.

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RaymondBurton

Most of my knowledge has to do with muscular development and a lot of this is new feed for me.

For developing the handstand using the above loading parameter of 10-20 minutes, what is the suggested rest time before repeating in order to achieve the best progression from your experiences? Is it 48 hours? Every day? Once a week?

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Coach Sommer

I would recommend at first beginning with once a week; and then gradually adding additional training days as you adapt to the training load and also depending on your own individual goals. If handstand is a major priority add more days. If handstand is a minor priority, once or twice a week will be sufficient.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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Blairbob

Hmm, currently I am implenting our boys in L4 ( first level of competition typically 1-2 years or less into gymnastics ) do 5 sets of 1minute each of wall HS followed by 10 or more presses on the wall, by themselves or with me ( we do a sort of circuit where I spot some and they do some on their own while another group does them against the wall ). Then we go off and do a bunch of HS ( 10-20 ) from a lunge, trying to land in a lunge where I go down the line and spot besides practicing rolling to HS and rolling out of HS.

On PB, I generally spot 2-3 sets of 2-3 L press to HS and 2-3 sets of swing to HS and lower down to planche besides setting up a station where they kick to HS on parallettes and do straddle L press to pushup on a mat.

I'm thinking I need to up their sets of wall HS. We also practice the wall runs and wall tapping off HS to free balance. Given I have about 170 minutes of training time - event time, warmup, stretching ( 5-10m ), conditioning at the end, and transition time; do you think I can really afford up to 20m right now. Especially as we have just started getting used to doing the wall HS at the beginning of practice. I could see adding another 5 sets of wall HS, but is 10 total minutes of HS work ( wall HS, presses, kicking up to HS ) enough right time, especially as we are in season?

Or should I move all the HS work towards the end of the class. I think I prefer to do it before events or at the beginning of event time.

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RaymondBurton

Thankyou very much Coach Sommer for your answer. I think it's awesome what you are doing here.

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Scott Caron

Re: the suggestion for handstands for 10 to 20 minutes. Does that mean holding for 10-20 minutes straight at a time? I can do a minute now and was up to close to 2 before my knee injury but that minute or two kicks my ass!

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Blairbob

Giant, that is total volume. It also might be volume and rest together so just time practising handstands, but I'm not sure.

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Scott Caron

So to be perfctly clear when you say volume, that means like 10 1 minute sets, with say a minute of rest in between (total 20 min) or 10 minutes of rest and work interspersed (like 5 1 minute sets with a minute in between)?

And of course I leanred to do them in circus school so rest isn't really rest...when you arent in the handstand you are stretching your arms and shoulders open in between.. :)

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Travis

It says specifically that those 10 to 20 minutes include work and rest.

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Blairbob

Thankyou Travis for pointing out the obvious to us blind peeps. :shock: I guess I missed that.

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Anathema

Coach, do these 10-12 minutes of handstand holding can be done with the wall only, or is it just free balancing?

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Coach Sommer

Free balancing provides the most bang for the buck, however both ways are effective.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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Anathema
Free balancing provides the most bang for the buck, however both ways are effective.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

I can't maintain a good handstand without the wall right now, so I guess I'll just stick with the wall for now. Thanks anyways.

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Erik Sjolin

Thanks Coach, this is a great piece of advice, although since I'm not exactly learned on the ways of wrist preparation and conditioning, did leave me unable to do a handstand for a few days.

I had a question about the (headstand) pushups, mainly about form. I can perform 3-4 consecutive headstand pushups consistantly, though I do them with my feet against my doorframe. My concern is that due to the angle of my body relative to the ground and the prominant arching in my back during the press, I may not be doing these exercises correctly, and could be doing more hinderance than help. Would simply moving my head closer to the wall during the initial stand help alleviate this (since my balance isn't good enough to do one freestanding)?

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Blairbob

Stop arching.

How close are you hands? I try to keep my hands maybe 4-6 inches away from the wall room when doing back to wall. As I descend, I let my back slide against the wall so my back is straight but as I push out I will end up at a slight lean in an arch. This is with my hands shoulder width apart.

If I allow my hands to go wider, I can keep my back to the wall the entire time. Just felt tough but I did dips and HSPU last night as well.

I was always taught to do HSPU with the head coming forward of the hands when descending because this is how it has to be done when done freestanding or on parallettes. However, in the book some HSPU progressions are with the arms slightly wide and head inside the arms and others with the head forward of the hands. Different progressions and applications of technique? Still in the dark about it.

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Erik Sjolin

The arch isn't nearly as bad as a back bridge, it's about the same as when I hold a freestanding handstand (still a bit of an arch, but that's mostly due to an average ROM in my shoulders). I'll try to fix that over the next while.

My hands are anywhere from a foot to five inches away from the wall, and about shoulder width apart. I always use a reverse leg lift to get into the headstand for simplicity's sake, though this makes it difficult to get my hands and head close to the wall. I try to keep my head parallel to my fingertips when I press, and my heels slide along the wall/frame (though sometimes they will come off about midway up). I'm nowhere near the progressions where the head is between the hands, but hopefully the ROM issue will be fixed by then.

Thanks for the time and the advice Blairbob, I appreciate it!

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Marcelo Lara

Thank you Coach Sommer, I'm going to try this :)

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Marcelo Lara

Coach Sommer, I have a question: can I build more pull-ups and chin-ups in bars with the same method?

Sorry for the double post... :?

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Chris Hansen

Where in your workout program would you put this? At the beginning of your normal workout? On a seperate day?

Thanks.

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