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Fitness Article: Learn the Handstand Pushup...
A Great Bodyweight Exercise for Fitness and Gymnastics Training
By Karen Goeller, CSCS
Learning the Handstand Pushup is a step by step process, literally. You will gradually add more load to our upper body as you elevate your feet. Increasing the load a little at a time is the safest way to progress towards the handstand pushup.
The best way to progress to holding your bodyweight upside down and performing pushups is to start with the standard pushup with perfect form. Next, maybe the following week, try to elevate your feet to 12" off the floor by placing them on a step while you are in push up position. Once comfortable and stable you can perform pushups.
Once the 12" elevated pushup is mastered with your belly facing, but not falling towards the floor, elevate your feet to 24" off the floor. At the 24" elevation perform several pushups in the proper body position, that is straight with absolutely no arch in the low back. If your belly falls towards the floor you should go back tot he 12" elevation for several weeks until your core becomes more stable.
Continue with the 12" increases each time a step is mastered until you are able to reach a position that is close to vertical with your belly facing the wall and your toes on the wall. That might be an increase each week or each month, depending upon your individual strength. You MUST be able to roll out of the handstand position rather than dropping your belly when you are fatigued. If you drop your belly towards the floor and keep your feet on the wall you will cause damage to your back and/or neck. BE CAREFUL.
As you increase the elevation each week you will be increasing the load on your shoulders and gaining strength. You will benefit if you supplement that gradual pushups with weight training exercises for your upper body. For example, you can use the overhead press and front raise exercises to build shoulder strength. Be sure to use proper form. Only increase the resistance after the exercise can be performed for 15 repetitions with ease. Be sure to build up your core strength with core exercises too.
You can view many handstand drills in my book, Handstand Drills and Conditioning Exercises. It includes core strength and shoulder strength exercises which are necessary for the handstand. There are also drills for proper handstand shape. The handstand book is available through this website and all major book retailers. Make sure you get the most recent edition with ISBN: 978-0-615-17724-3. Many fitness enthusiasts and fitness trainers use my gymnastics books to to learn bodyweight exercises.
And please check out my Swing Set Fitness books for bodyweight exercises with a playground swing, Fitness Books.
Let me know how I can help you...
Karen Goeller has been training athletes since 1978. She has an education that includes training in emergency medicine, physical therapy, and nutrition. She has held certifications that include Fitness Trainer, EMT-D, Nutritional Analysis, and many Gymnastics Certifications among others. Goeller has tremendous experience with training in a variety of settings. Karen Goeller is the author of the Swing Set Fitness books, the Gymnastics Drills and Conditioning books, and many additional products. She has written more gymnastics books than anyone in the USA. Her books are used by fitness experts, sports coaches, teachers, and athletes worldwide. Karen Goeller has worked for world's most famous gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi, owned a gymnastics club for ten years, and has been featured in several newspapers and on television many times. Karen Goeller offers sports performance training in NJ and through the web.
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