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Old 07-17-2012, 11:38 PM   #1
arrfep
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Default Handstand pushups

Who here does them? What is the relationship between how much you weigh and how much you can military press vs. how many handstand pushups you can do? I'd like to start working towards them but think I might still be too heavy/weak. Currently weigh around 230, can safely barbell military press 135 5 times for multiple sets, with strict form. Don't really want to injure myself trying these though.
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Old 07-18-2012, 01:20 AM   #2
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There's really no strict conversion from weight to you can shoulder press to how many HSPU you can do. It depends on how you do them (against a wall, free-standing), your motor program strategy, your body awareness, etc. You can be strong as an ox, but if you don't have the body awareness to be in the right position on the wall, you won't be able to do any. At 230lbs, I would definitely wait though. The HSPU is like a reduced range of motion shoulder press. You're gonna need to be able to press significantly more for that (and practice a lot).
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Old 07-18-2012, 07:00 AM   #3
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My max military press is 110. I can do about 7 HSPU against a wall with pretty strict form---head touching ground.

I can only do about half range of motion freestanding without a wall, though. It may be more of a balance issue, however.
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Old 07-18-2012, 09:00 AM   #4
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they are incorporated into several of the crossfit workouts we do. the typical progression for people who can't do them is toes on a box and perform pushups in a pike position head pointing down (use a lower box to make it easier, use a higher box to make it harder). eventually, you should be able to get close to doing them with your feet straight up against a wall. what we do at that point is put something under the head to make the target less difficult (a couple of mats or pillows or rolled-up towels) and remove them until you are doing them by touching your head to the ground. if you're worried about touching your head to something as hard as the ground you can put a mat/pillow/towel down but also raise your hands off the ground by a similar distance using weight plates or something like that.

for reference, i'm 170, press 115 and do handstand pushups against a wall with 2 abmats (about 4" from floor). i can probably do between 10 and 15 before failure.
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:39 AM   #5
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I weigh about 185-ish and will typically work my way up to about 205lb max standing overhead press.

When you guys say military press do you mean standing where the heals are touching or seated?
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Old 07-18-2012, 01:08 PM   #6
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when i say press i mean standing with feet a little less than shoulder's width apart.
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Old 07-18-2012, 01:30 PM   #7
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I do handstand pushup and it puts a lot of strain on your wrists and palm. If my wrists/palm are not 100%, I don't do it because I know I'll injure myself.

If I'm 100%, I do about 10 of them a set, 2 sets. I started doing this back when I was in high school, around 120 lbs. I'm between 127 to 130 lbs. right now.
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Old 07-18-2012, 02:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackdogdeek View Post
when i say press i mean standing with feet a little less than shoulder's width apart.

Ok..got it. That's what I do.
I've heard the term military press used "liberally" throughout the years.
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Old 07-18-2012, 02:08 PM   #9
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I agree that there isn't going to be any clear indicator or correlation that says "you can do a HSPU"...it just takes time. Use progressions like blackdog said, use a bumper or ab-mat under your head to reduce to the distance traveled. Once you get one, try a volume method (every minute on the minute, do 1/2/3 HSPU) or grease-the-groove method.

They've always come pretty easily to me, but I have better than average strength-to-weight ratio. Look up some videos on hand placement, proper muscle activation and how you should hold your body while you're against a wall (try to maintain a hollow or close to it, don't let your midline sag, etc).

edit: oh, and static hand-stand holds and negatives are great too if you're working up to a HSPU.
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Old 07-18-2012, 05:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SociallyChallenged View Post
There's really no strict conversion from weight to you can shoulder press to how many HSPU you can do. It depends on how you do them (against a wall, free-standing), your motor program strategy, your body awareness, etc. You can be strong as an ox, but if you don't have the body awareness to be in the right position on the wall, you won't be able to do any. At 230lbs, I would definitely wait though. The HSPU is like a reduced range of motion shoulder press. You're gonna need to be able to press significantly more for that (and practice a lot).
Thanks SC, totally respect your input here. Wasn't looking for a conversion, per se, just some ballpark estimates as to what numbers translate to HSPU ability for various people. You raise a good point about making sure the rest of the body is up to the task as well. I think my core's up to the task, as I've been training abs/obliques for strength over the past year or so.


Quote:
Originally Posted by blackdogdeek View Post
they are incorporated into several of the crossfit workouts we do. the typical progression for people who can't do them is toes on a box and perform pushups in a pike position head pointing down (use a lower box to make it easier, use a higher box to make it harder). eventually, you should be able to get close to doing them with your feet straight up against a wall. what we do at that point is put something under the head to make the target less difficult (a couple of mats or pillows or rolled-up towels) and remove them until you are doing them by touching your head to the ground. if you're worried about touching your head to something as hard as the ground you can put a mat/pillow/towel down but also raise your hands off the ground by a similar distance using weight plates or something like that.

for reference, i'm 170, press 115 and do handstand pushups against a wall with 2 abmats (about 4" from floor). i can probably do between 10 and 15 before failure.
Awesome, thanks for the ideas. I like the idea of cantilevering my legs over a box or something while still basically doing the rest of the movement.

Quote:
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I do handstand pushup and it puts a lot of strain on your wrists and palm. If my wrists/palm are not 100%, I don't do it because I know I'll injure myself.

If I'm 100%, I do about 10 of them a set, 2 sets. I started doing this back when I was in high school, around 120 lbs. I'm between 127 to 130 lbs. right now.
Good point. I fear that my wrists will actually end up being the weak point in the chain. I think I'll have to work on wrist flexibility before attempting.


Okay, thanks you guys. Think I'll start with one of the progression exercises and will report back with my results.
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Old 07-18-2012, 08:00 PM   #11
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You can also use parallettes (small handles for gymnastics) to put your wrist in a better position). If you're really interested, here's a link (http://library.crossfit.com/free/pdf...arallettes.pdf) for making your own for cheap. I'd say if you're new and want to practice, they're a little scary as they raise you up off the floor. But they save your wrists. Also, if you want to do full range of motion, these make that harder. But like blackdogdeek said, you can stack up a couple of pillows or something to touch your head to so you can document your progress (or what range works for you).
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Old 07-19-2012, 10:53 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SociallyChallenged View Post
You can also use parallettes (small handles for gymnastics) to put your wrist in a better position). If you're really interested, here's a link (http://library.crossfit.com/free/pdf...arallettes.pdf) for making your own for cheap. I'd say if you're new and want to practice, they're a little scary as they raise you up off the floor. But they save your wrists. Also, if you want to do full range of motion, these make that harder. But like blackdogdeek said, you can stack up a couple of pillows or something to touch your head to so you can document your progress (or what range works for you).
i hate handstand parallette pushups so damn much . the first rep is ok and then trying to get out of the bottom position of subsequent reps feels like gravity just gave you the finger.
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Old 07-19-2012, 03:33 PM   #13
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Crossfit Games this year had a workout with negative parallette handstand pushups. Even those guys had problems. When Rich Forning has issues doing a motion then you know it's tough as shit.
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Old 07-19-2012, 05:37 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HN View Post
i hate handstand parallette pushups so damn much . the first rep is ok and then trying to get out of the bottom position of subsequent reps feels like gravity just gave you the finger.
That's how I feel after 3 reps of simply head to floor and back with hands on floor. But it was only 2 reps for the past 2-3 weeks, so maybe I'll get there eventually .
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Old 07-19-2012, 06:35 PM   #15
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Just another data point, I weigh 215, strict shoulder press 197, and can do about 7-8 strict handstand push-ups as a max effort (no parallettes, just hands on the floor, head touching the floor on bottom to elbows locked at top). Lighter people tend to be able to do higher reps even at the same ratio of overhead press to bodyweight, in my experience. For example, I know a guy who weights about 170-175, presses 155-160, but can do 20+ strict HSPUs. Limb length makes a difference as well.
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