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Handstand Push ups


Handstand push up is the best exercise for shoulders. They primarily work your anterior and lateral deltoids and the muscles in the back of your arms (your triceps). They also engage the muscles of the upper back (the trapezius).

Handstand push ups also help to build strength for free handstands. A strong core and strong shoulders will help you find your balance and maintain the position more easily.


Choose one of the following variations which you can do 3 sets of between 4 and 8 repetitions with periods of between 1 and 2 min of rest between each set. When you can do 3 sets of 8, move on to the next exercise in the progression.

 1. Incline pike push ups 

handstand push up progression

Place your hands shoulder-width apart on a raised platform. Bend at the waist keeping a straight back. Your outstretched arms and torso should form a straight line. Bring your head to your hands.

 2. Pike push ups.

Same as above, without the platform. Make sure that your head travels directly between your arms. Try to keep your head, arms and torso all in the same straight line.

 3. Decline pike push ups.

handstand push up progression
Same as above with feet on a raised platform, and hands on the floor.

 4. Wall bent waist handstand push up. 

handstand push up progression

Walk your feet up the wall, keep a bent waist (you will need to remain some distance from the wall), then perform a push up. Make sure your head and torso remain in line with your arms.

 5. Wall half handstand push up. 

handstand push up progression

Facing the wall in a handstand position, lower yourself till your arms are half bent, then come up.

 6. Wall handstand push ups. 

handstand push up progression

Lower yourself all the way down, until your head touches the ground.

 7. Wall handstand diamond push ups

handstand push up progression

Same as wall handstand push ups, but with thumbs and index fingers touching each other.

Important notes

  • If you don't want to hurt your shoulder, when performing handstand push ups, make sure your upper body, your arms, and your head remain in a straight line. Check out my  free handstand tutorial to get the perfect form for handstand 
  • Don't forget to breathe when you are upside down. Inhale when you go down and exhale when you push up.
  • You can do handstand push ups in parallel bars to increase range of motion.


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