Assisted Handstand Pushups


Orange Belt
Jan 5, 2006
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I don't know how novel this is, but I've been wanting to get to the point where I can do....1.) A handstand....and 2.) Handstand pushups.

Its not that I can't get up there but I have to do it all assbackwards. I stand with my back to the wall. Lean forward then one at a time put my shins up against the wall and kinda crawl up. I'm gradually increasing my time with this.

This is cause I'm either not light enough, flexible enough, and/or too much of a pussy to fully commit to doing the little kick up thing from facing the wall and bending over and kicking up.

Anyway, to give myself something more to do I came up with an idea to let me do some handstand pushups with some of the weight taken off.

Basically I have the left side of my couch with some open floor beside it. I kneel facing toward the open side next to the arm of the couch and reach over it and place my hands on the floor close shoulder width apart. At this point my stomach is in on the arm of the sofa and my arms are at a slight angle away from the couch.

Then I slide forward until the tops of my knees are on the top of the couch arm and my arms are now basically parallel with the floor.

You can play with it a little, like the angle of your hips to give you a good pivot point at you knees that result in you being able to basically move almost all in the vertical direction and do handstand pushups without full body weight.

I found out also that if you change the position of your calves and feet it can increase or decrease the weight.

I think this will also be good as another occasion to get used to doing stuff upside down and getting used to the position and exertion in that position...without the possibility of really eating it and killing yourself. Pretty much at any time in the maneuver you can slide your knees back to the inside of the sofa arm if your arms are totally fatigued and you can't push yourself back up.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.
fyi...aside from having the crawl up the wall the "pussy" way, doing handstand pushups with stomach facing the wall keeps your handstand in better form and also forces a better pushup
wenispinkle said:
fyi...aside from having the crawl up the wall the "pussy" way, doing handstand pushups with stomach facing the wall keeps your handstand in better form and also forces a better pushup

Its the pussy way for me cause I'm scared to totally commit and flip my legs up. I imagine other than a very small fractional of weight taken off from the angle its probably nearly the same difficulty wise. Maybe a little more with the friction from the tops of your feet.

I'd say you might be onto something as far as the better form. I am basically straight as a board when I do it this way...once I get up there.

I think in terms of strethening your arms and core freestanding handstands are gonna be the best...and in that way the flip up handstands are a little better.

And ultimately I'd like to be able to go out onto my lawn and flip up into a handstand, walk on my hands, and do some handstand pushups. Impressing all my neighbors with my feats of strength.

It won't be quite as impressive if I have to walk up trees backwards just to get up there. I'm fairly certain humping a tree upside down in probably illegal here.
I have the same goal as you and I've been working to lengthen my handstand for ages now. I am capable of handstanding with ease (against a wall), but fuck me if I can get my heels off the wall and stay upright for more than 5 seconds.

I think you would benefit from practising headstands with your back against the wall. This helps you commit to kicking up, staying upright, and developing that sense of balance.

And as for that fear you have in the early stages of falling out of a handstand and getting fenceposted into the floor, breaking your neck - I've never come close to this happening, even at my most tired. Your legs always drag you down forwards or to the side. Just ensure your elbows stay locked (requiring very little strength) and you'll be fine.
I had the same problem. Too chicken to flip my legs up against the wall.

I tried by myself a few times, but couldn't.

I had a friend spot me as I tried and got it after a few tries. Now I have no problem doing it by myself. I found that I have to have my hands somewhere between 12-18 inches from the wall.

Now my problem is the blood flow to my face/eyes as I try to just hold the position for increasing time.

I think toetagga has a very good point. Eventually you are not going to use the wall and will need to use the flipping up motion to get into position.

How do you place your hands on the ground? Like in doing bench press where your fingers are pointing up towards your head or fingers pointing out away from you (like seated pulley).

I ask because if you are in a handstand and fall forward/on your back won't you kill your wrists/fingers?
Kicking up with my back to the wall, I try to vary my hand positions as much as possible, but usually I just keep them in what I feel is the most natural position - using a clockface analogy, my hands are at 10 and 2.

Regarding kicking up, put your hands down, your arse up, and kick up one leg at a time in a fluid motion (right leg first, usually) - remember that there's a wall there to catch you, and provided your elbows are locked, there is practically no possibility of you falling on your head and damaging your neck. Provided your back is kept facing the wall, you will never fall that way. Nor is there any possibility of cranking your hands back and snapping them off. You'll only topple forwards and land back in the exact position you kicked up from.

As a variation after doing an upright handstand, I kick up against the wall and walk my hands forward (away from the wall) about 3 ft (a little tricky at first, but slide them quickly and you'll get it), keeping my feet in gentle contact with the wall by arching my back. This is not as difficult as it sounds, and it shifts the strength from your traps & delts to your upper pecs and arms (a la incline bench). In this position, your fingertips are pointing directly at the wall, and you'll really feel it in your forearms. This position is also great for tightening your back bridge.

Headstands can really help you get used to the blood pressure thing. I honestly don't feel it anymore, whereas a few months ago it could be quite uncomfortable. And when headstanding, you can also practice your breathing (very important for the full handstand, as I found I tended to strain and so hold my breath), and also develop the requisite proprioception in your legs, which are 99% of your balance in the handstand. So headstanding is what you really need to master before handstanding.

As you get better, you also find that it requires less and less muscle use. I can headstand for hours - there is almost no muscle involved. I think handstanding is the same. Once you develop the balance enough to keep all your weight on the heels of your palms, you're there. Bear in mind that it's a long process though, particularly if you're bulky.
I think there is a natural blood flow to your head that shouldn't be do discomforting, but there is probablyalso a bit that happens when we strain to much to do what a few muscle groups can easily do. Not sure if I'm explaining it right.

Imagine doing a bench press with a weight you know you can handle. You breath evenly, and just pump it out like its nothing. Nice and smooth.

Put about 50 lbs past your max on it and now try it.

If your pushing and straining you'll probably and trying every little thing to try to get it up...your eyes and face will probably feel about the same.

Now bench it like your easy rep, evenly breathing, just trying to engage the muscles, heck most likely you won't lift it at all, maybe just a controlled decent until your spotters pulls it off you, but this relaxed extreme effort is alot different than straining.

When I'm doing my handstands where I crawl up the wall, I can't stay up very long...maybe 10 secs, but I do my best to remember to be calm, breath evenly, and just push with my shoulders.

Its even easier to get comfortable and get used to the position when I'm resting some of my weight on my sofa.

The big weakness for me is in my wrists, I don't have as much flexiblity there as I would like. But I've been doing pushups in the mornings and they've been helping to add a little flexibility and even more imporant strength.
toetagga said:

Thanks for the link dude. I've been working towards handstands. I can do partials against the wall, and hold unassisted for a 10 seconds. The main things that have been stopping me are balancing strength, which this article is very helpful for, and just general strength in the handsatnd push up motion which should be fixed with some specific lifts. Thanks again.