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Finding and Developing Your Handstand Push-Up: Part 2 by Carl Paoli with Adrian Bozman - CrossFit Journal

In Gymnastics/Tumbling, Videos

November 11, 2010

Video Article

Join gymnast Carl Paoli, Kim Bozman and HQ trainer Adrian (Boz) Bozman as they teach handstand fundamentals by applying gymnastics to elite CrossFit skills.

In the first installment of this series, Paoli developed a handstand using hollow-body-position, headstand, and modified handstand-push-up progressions. Today we continue to learn how to apply gymnastics skills to the handstand with more challenging progressions that will eventually bring us to ring handstand push-ups.

In Part 1, Paoli emphasizes the stability and strength of facing the wall in a handstand push-up. According to Paoli, the poor position that results from a handstand with your back against the wall “puts a ceiling on your performance immediately.” The face-to-wall handstand better mimics a freestanding handstand, especially for balance. Watch as Paoli and Boz use progressions to develop a face-to-wall handstand push-up.

In Part 2, Paoli goes back to the headstand to start working toward a freestanding handstand push-up. Using Boz as his model, he develops a kipping handstand push-up. Although the kipping version is useful for developing balance, awareness and basic strength, it isn’t the end point. According to Boz, “You don’t want to use this as a crutch for not developing the upper-body strength to be able to do them strict ... .”

In Part 3, Paoli teaches the ring handstand push-up. According to Paoli, you can set yourself up for greater success just by learning how to get into the movement properly. Through progressions, Paoli develops this elite skill that challenged even top athletes at the 2010 CrossFit Games.

Part 1: 6min 06sec
Part 2: 3min 59sec
Part 3: 7min 23sec

Additional reading: The Freestanding Handstand Push-Up by Roger Harrell, published June 1, 2006.

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19 Comments on “Finding and Developing Your Handstand Push-Up: Part 2”


wrote …

hahahahaha Carl Paoli is just so sick =)


wrote …

Thanks Carl! Been looking forward to this! Can't wait to watch it!


wrote …

Boz, how many High Life's did you have last night?


wrote …

That was much needed! I was just lamenting my lousy hand stand push ups - which won't be the case much longer.


wrote …

Great series of videos, Gentlemen. Thanks. Every time I see one of Carl's vids, I'm inspired to get some work done on the rings. Here we go again.




wrote …

These video are sick! I second what Jon said... & they make me want to spend mucho time upside down so I can get the body control he displays. great stuff

***SICK=very good


wrote …

Thanks guys. GREAT video instruction!. Lots of inspiration and motivation. Excelling at something, getting better and helping others get there too is what it's all about.

You are doing a fantastic job - please keep it up and give us more!


Stephen Wakefoose wrote …

Damn that Blauer guy is everywhere!


wrote …

Yes this is the section I've been waiting for! Liking the chest to wall version as I can see how that will keep my technique a lot more solid through the core! Great tips on the escapes if you need to bail too!


wrote …

Carl Paoli is super cool!


wrote …

I will be buying some rings at the CrossFit Endurance expo (work-family safe link) this weekend in Costa Mesa, CA!!!


wrote …

yeah Carl! excellent instruction.


wrote …

Thanks so much, guys, this move is probably the goatliest of all my goats, now I feel I at least have an approach to getting better.


wrote …

so badass!
part of my warmup tonite!

SPEAR rocks!



wrote …

Hi Carl, I have a few questions for you after watching the vids (which were excellent in the explanation and demonstration, by the way):

1. How would you recommend developing the 'back to the wall' HSPU that we see utilized in the games and many of the videos? I can tell that the movement is not efficient for me, and when you were talking about the back 'being broken', that made tons of sense to me.

2. If HSPUs came up in a WOD, would you prefer doing the 'chest to the wall' style over 'back to the wall'?

3. Last question: in the Rogue vs. AF throw down, Camille did her HSPUs with her back actually touching the wall. Was this done to try and keep her back from being broken as much as possible? Would this be a better way to do that particular style of HSPUs?

Thanks again for the videos! HSPUs will no longer be a goat now that I've got some progressions to work through!


wrote …

Badass Carl. Awesome!


wrote …

Awesome series really enjoyed this thanks!

(tony black not graeme brown).


wrote …


1. If you align your entire back and shoulders against the wall, you can keep a hollow body while doing a back-to-wall Handstand to Headstand pushup. However, your shoulder angle will have to be closed to align your body this way. You can open the shoulder taking your back off the wall and then re-align your back against the wall. It's a good alignment drill for HS.

2. I prefer chest to wall style.

3. No idea, I'd have to see video. Was she kipping or not?


wrote …

Free Standing Ring HSPU??!!! Get OUTTA HERE!! too good man, just too good

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