Video Article

Retool your gymnastics skills with elite gymnast Carl Paoli, founder of Naka Athletics, coach at San Francisco CrossFit and creator of Through his Freestyle Connections Seminar, Paoli introduces athletes to advanced gymnastics skills using simple progressions and coaching points. Today’s movement is the handstand push-up.

In Part 1 of the series, Paoli shows how to progress from a floor push-up to a tripod position to a headstand. He demonstrates how to spot the movement safely and how to scale it using bands.

Paoli emphasizes slow, controlled movement.

“It’s OK to get excited, but don’t go overboard. And this is also mental control here,” he says. He cues the athletes to “see their toes” in order to maintain a hollow-body position while inverted.

The wall walk is the next progression into a handstand.

“You go as high as you can with your feet without moving your hands,” Paoli says. “Once you feel comfortable with that, then you walk your hands in.”

He continues: “You have to know where your limits are. Go where you know you can handle and return.”

13min 47sec

Video by Again Faster.

Additional reading: The Push-Up by Greg Glassman, published March 1, 2003.

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15 Comments on “Handstand Push-Up Progression With Carl Paoli: Part 1 ”


wrote …

Carl, you put out some of the best videos on the journal. Keep up the awesome work!


wrote …

great video. thank you.


How weird? The day that Carl is at the games and I show up for his Wednesday Gymnastics workout and get crushed by handstan push-ups this video comes out? Love the video wish I woulda seen it 12 hours earlier!


wrote …

Thanks! What a great video. As someone trying to get into CrossFit from home, alone, this kind of coverage of progression (as opposed to the fully fledged movement) is invalueable!


wrote …

Great virtuosity from Carl as always.

Anyone know where one can get the shorts the demo girl had?


wrote …

Brilliant educational video. Since I work out at home this is invaluable.


wrote …

I was just watching all his previous videos yesterday, this stuff is perfect he's a great instructor! Keep it up I am craving to learn this stuff better!


wrote …

great video and great instruction. I would like to see more topics done in this fashion of breaking the moves down into steps that can be used to construct the whole move over time as you build capability.


replied to comment from Johan Ström

Pretty sure those shorts are Lululemon - the Run Swiftly


wrote …

Carl really is a superstar!!! Thank you


wrote …

Consistently one of the best technical instructors I've seen. Carl always breaks it down brilliantly. Between this and his muscle-up instructions I couldn't be happier. I'm working on my handstand push-ups so this is a great resource. Thanks.


wrote …

Carl is a Rockstar!! At 53 years old, I started with his methods last November. And by January, I was doing headstands, something I could never do before!! Double Thanks!!


wrote …

Another great video by CP. I just took a seminar with Carl last weekend. Fantastic information! I highly encourage all of you to take one of Carl's "skill transference" seminar. What I learn from Carl, has helped me in all aspects of training from muscle ups to jerks, this guy has a unique perspective on how to improve your skills. Plus, he is very entertainting and funny!

Looking forward to more videos from CP!


wrote …

OMG, so filled with gratitude that Crossfit is open-source. You couldn't buy coaching this good. He's amazing. More please!!!


wrote …

The description of the global aspects of flexing and extending as well as the detail regarding knee movement have made me feel that the mythical 1000 burpees is possible. I actually feel that I know what I am doing in a complete and complex physical sense now in the burpees. It allows you to do a couple of perfect ones, and like in all movements, now you can repeat it. Thanks, Carl

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