“Why do you think everyone was sucking so bad at those handstand push-ups on the rings (at the 2010 CrossFit Games)?” asks coach Carl Paoli, a trainer at San Francisco CrossFit and owner of Naka Athletics. As you might guess, he has some ideas about how to improve your handstand push-up.
Join Paoli as he puts Jason Khalipa through handstand push-up training.
Paoli critiques Khalipa’s freestanding handstand push-up and offers suggestions for improvement. Paoli first tackles Khalipa’s position on the floor.
“You’ve got to make a bigger base,” he says. Paoli sets Khalipa in a tripod position with his head driving forward of his hands to touch the ground. To finish the movement, the head drives back up through the arms, just as it does in a shoulder press or push press.
Paoli uses a hollow-body position to stabilize the back and maintain balance. A handstand push-up facing the wall helps develop this stability and positioning.
“Chest against the wall and then go head forward, head up,” Paoli says as he demonstrates a wall-facing handstand push-up. “Now I don’t allow my body to break at all. Boom—that’s the position.”
Additional reading: The Freestanding Handstand Push-Up by Roger Harrell, published June 1, 2006.