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Handstand Pushup Progression Steps

Learn handstand pushup progression steps, even if you can't do a basic handstand yet

In this post, you will learn handstand pushup progression steps.

It is handstand pushups for beginners. With a bit of effort, you will learn how to handstand pushup, even if you can't do a basic handstand yet.


Being able to do freestanding handstand pushups takes A LOT of strength. You will need to condition the right muscles before attempting them to avoid injury. This handstand pushup program will teach you how to practice handstand pushups. It also gives some handstand pushup tips.

First, train in the following conditioning exercises:

  • ​Handstand for 30 seconds
  • ​Bent-arm handstand for 30 seconds
  • ​10 wall handstand push-ups

You do not have to progress in the above exercises in order. You can train for them at the same time. Let's go into each of them in more detail.

How to do a Handstand

In this video, Esther teaches you how to do yoga handstands against a wall. There is an emphasis on proper technique and body alignment which is why I chose it.

Once you can do a yoga handstand against a wall move onto doing them unassisted.

Work your way up to a continuous 30-second handstand. You can use a timer if you want but then every time you fall you will need to stop/start the timer. It's more efficient to count. I find my counting is faster than one second so I count to 50. You can time your counting rhythm to see how long you need to count to get to one minute.

When you start to lose balance go into a controlled roll. Tuck your chin to your chest, bend your arms and roll over your upper back. This will improve your rolling technique. It also means you can put your weight towards the back of your body because you won't be afraid to fall that way. This will make it easier to do the handstand.

Most people prefer to fall back on their feet so they place more of their weight in that direction. This makes the handstand harder to control and you will lose balance more often. When your weight is more to your back you can use your finger-strength to correct yourself. This is great for other Survival Fitness Plan activities also. Finger strength is very useful in parkour and self-defense.

How to do a Bent-Arm Handstand

To begin with, learn the yoga crow pose. Here's a video to teach you that.

After you can do the crow pose for at least 30 seconds, try extending into a bent-arm handstand. I could not find an actual tutorial on how to do a bent-arm handstand. Maybe I'll make one myself one day. In the meantime, this video shows someone doing a bent arm handstand by using the yoga crow pose.

Continue to practice the bent-arm handstand until you can do it for at least 30 seconds.

How to do Wall Handstand Push-ups

To learn wall handstand push-ups, build yourself up to the following in order:

  • 15 pike push-ups
  • ​ 15 negative wall handstand push-ups
  • ​ 10 wall handstand push-ups

How to do Pike Pushups

When doing the pike push-up, mimic the handstand push-up as close as possible. This is so you strengthen the correct muscles.

Here is an excellent tutorial by 'Global Bodyweight Training' on how to do pike push-ups. It will help if you can first do either 30 normal push-ups or 10 SFP super-burpees. The latter is best.

How to do Negative Wall Handstand Pushups

To do negative wall handstand push-ups, start in a handstand. Slowly lower yourself to the ground. Mimic as close as possible the exact reverse motion of the handstand pushup. This is so you target the right muscles.

When your head touches the ground, fall you your feet. Then go into a wall handstand again and repeat it.

How to do Handstand Pushups - Final Progression Steps

Once you can do 15 negative wall handstand push-ups, switch to wall handstand push-ups. Continue to practice handstand push-ups on the wall until you can do 10 in a row.

As you gain strength, rely less and less on the wall. Push away from it a little. Do a pushup, regain your balance in the handstand position, and then do another one. Build yourself up to one handstand pushup. Then go for 5 or 10 and you'll be a beast!

Here is a video of a guy with PERFECT handstand pushup form. I was gob-smacked when I first watched this.

Modified Handstand Pushups

There are many variations to the basic handstand pushup. I won't go into them in detail but here are some ideas in case you feel like mixing it up a bit. They are from easy to hard. You can use the first two as extra progression steps to the basic handstand pushup if you want.

  • ​Banded handstand pushups. Get a little help from a giant rubber band.
  • ​Pike handstand pushup. Another scaled handstand pushup. It's a pike pushup but with your feet up higher, like on a box.
  • ​Diamond handstand pushups. Put your hands in a diamond shape on the ground to work different muscles.
  • ​Weighted handstand pushups. Challenge yourself by adding extra weight.
  • ​One arm handstand pushup. For if you feel like being a beast.
  • ​One finger handstand pushup. Because you have decided to become Superman!

Handstand Pushup Tutorial Summary

Here are my suggested handstand push-up progression steps. Aim to do handstand pushups everyday for the fastest results.

Be able to do the following three exercises:

  • ​Handstand for 30 seconds.
  • ​Bent-arm handstand for 30 seconds.
  • ​10 wall handstand push-ups.

To learn how to do a wall handstand push-up, use the following progression steps in order:

  • ​Build yourself up to 15 pike push-ups.
  • ​Do 15 negative wall handstand push-ups, i.e., start in a handstand and slowly lower yourself to the ground.
  • ​Work your way up to 10 wall handstand push-ups.

Once you can do all three exercises, progress into handstand push-ups without the wall.

  • ​Build up to 10 negative handstand push-ups.
  • ​Finally, do 5 handstand push-ups.
  • ​Try modified handstand pushups (optional)

Did you find this article about how to do handstand push-ups useful? If so, please share it with your friends.

Article by Sam Fury

Sam Fury 3 png
Sam Fury 3 png

Sam Fury is the creator and owner of the Survival Fitness Plan.

He has had a passion for martial arts and outdoor pursuits since he was a young boy growing up in Australia.

As a young adult he joined the military and studied outdoor leadership in college. After that, to further his skills, Sam started traveling to learn from the best in the world in various fields related to the Survival Fitness Plan including various martial arts in China, SE Asia and Brazil, Parkour in Singapore, Surf Life Saving in Australia, and others. 

These days, he still enjoys learning new things, traveling and sharing what he has learned via the Survival Fitness Plan. 

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