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  • Writer's pictureDr. Brandon

5 steps to a Handstand(Push up)

Welcome back to movement Monday and today we’re taking a different track and we’re going to focus on performance, specifically of the handstand and the handstand pushup. Gymnasts, dancers, capoeiristas, as well as judo players along with people who do cross-fit as well as some of your boot camps all have to load their body weight onto their shoulders at some point in their training and so the following 5 step progression will prepare you to be able to have the mobility, strength, and technique to train for a handstand and a handstand pushup.


Step 1

Mobilize for it We’re starting here because Loss of mobility in your upper back can prevent you from loading your arms overhead, this includes the ability of your upper back from going from its natural forward curve to a more straight position allowing your arms to go overhead. If you are missing out on some motion at the shoulder, like the ability to put it overhead or reach behind you and touch your opposite shoulder blade, you will not be able to load your shoulders into a handstand without compensating which usually leads to injury.


Step 2 Stabilize for it:

Now we want a stable platform to before we start to load with body weight, since these are stabilizer muscles, we don’t want to grab the biggest weight in the gym, generally less than 20 pounds is enough. Typically in clinic, I’ll use the bottoms up kettle bell carry, waiter’s carry as well as a modified Turkish get up and some T-Stability Push ups.


Step 3: Load for it:

Our progressions for loading our shoulders follows the following sequence,

1. The Pike Pushup,

2. The Pike single leg,

3. The Pike push up with feet elevated, and finally

4. The single leg pike push up


Step 4: Balance for it

Balancing for a handstand can take several paths. How we teach it at Body Mechanix and Tallahassee Capoeira are a progression through a K-Stand where one leg is up, the other is in front of you for balance, the K-Switch-switching legs while maintaining balance,Or alternately you can work with a sturdy wall with fingers roughly 3 inches off the wall using your finger tips to move your heels off the wall.


Step 5: Strengthen for it

The progression we use here is very similar to what you will se with strength training when you are trying to go past where you currently are at We’ll start with Wall Negatives

Next we’ll use momentum from our legs to assist in the lift with Kick Ups, Partner burnouts(not in video),then pressing up balancing against the wall and finally freestanding

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