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Preparing For The CrossFit Open – Learn Handstand Pushups

This week we move on to Hanstand Pushups as we continue to get you prepared for the Open!  Try out these progressions to see if you can get them or get more efficient at them.

V push up

This exercise will increase shoulder strength and build a foundation for the rest of the movements listed below. Increase trunk flexion in order to make the V push-ups more difficult. Narrow feet also to increase difficulty of v push-ups.

L Push-Up

This exercise can be performed from different box heights in order to increase or decrease difficulty. Starting with the trunk less flexed than displayed in the video, complete a push-up and return to resting position. In order to progress the exercise, you simply bring your hands toward the box to create the ā€œLā€ position and complete a push-up. Feet should be far enough apart for balance.

Wall walk (Holds)

Wall walks are a great way to introduce the handstand position for the first time. Often times we jump to the standard way of gaining the position too fast without first practicing being on our shoulders in the handstand position. Walk walks and holds are a great way to build the tolerance in the shoulders and to practice being in that position.

Upright to Handstand position practice

This exercise is a progression to the wall walk and holds, as it will introduce the movement in a safe manner. Depending on the gym and the coaches, there are many different ways to practice going into this position. The way shown in the video is a great way to practice the technique if you have mastered wall walks and do not need assistance when moving into the handstand position.

Strict Push up

Strict movements should ALWAYS be completed and mastered before moving to the kipping version. Most coaches agree that ten strict handstand push-ups should be completed by every athlete before learning how to kip. This will build the foundation needed to sustain the movement throughout a workout. Hand placement should be shoulder width or slightly outside the shoulders, feet should be narrow and the core engaged.

Kipping practice

This position will make handstand push-up easier! However, as I have mentioned the journey to kipping handstands is needed in order to build strength behind the movement. Now it is time to practice. Your back should be off of the wall when in the extended position. This will allow room for your back to touch the wall once you have flexed the legs and elbows. Once you have achieved the standard position, quickly thrust your hips and extend your elbows to complete the position.  


Written by Dymire Jones, SPT and CrossFit Level 1 Trainer.  For more questions, you can email him at dymirejonesspt@yahoo.com.

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