Tag Archives | one arm handstand pushup

Handstand Push Ups – Guest Post by Al Kavadlo

You can train every muscle in your body without ever going to a gym or lifting weights, you just have to be creative!

The overhead press is one of the most fundamental strength training techniques out there – and for good reason. Overhead pressing is a great way to build upper-body strength as well as a strong core. Barbells and kettlebells are great for pressing, but no matter how strong you are, handstand push-ups are a unique challenge and must be treated as such. Get ready to flip the classic overhead press on its head – literally!

Pike Press
If you aren’t strong enough to do a handstand push-up yet, the pike press is a great way to ease in. Pike presses allow you to train the movement pattern without having to bear your entire body weight.

Rest your toes on a bench or step and get down in a push-up position. From here, walk your hands back toward the bench while you pike your hips up in the air over your shoulders. You will wind up looking like an upside-down letter L, with your body bent in half from the waist. Try to keep your back straight by taking the stretch in your hamstrings. You can bend your knees a little if you need to in order to keep your hips up over your shoulders. Lower yourself down until the top of your head touches the ground and then push yourself back up – that’s one rep.

Wall Assisted Handstand Push-up

Once you can do ten consecutive pike presses without too much trouble, you’re ready to try a full handstand push-up against a wall. Kick up into a handstand with your back slightly arched and your fingers spread out. Engage your core muscles and keep your body tight as you lower yourself down and press yourself up. Make sure you touch your head to the ground on every rep to ensure a full range of motion. You can also try touching your nose to the floor instead of the top of your head to allow yourself to go a bit lower.

Handstand Push-ups on Parallettes

If you want a bigger range of motion for your handstand press, you’ve got a couple options. You could use a set of parallettes or you could set up two benches (or other sturdy objects) alongside each other with enough room for your head to fit in between. Any method that allows you to drop your head below your hands will add a new challenge to your handstand push-ups.

Freestanding Handstand Push-up

The freestanding handstand is a tricky move to get the hang of on its own, adding a push-up to it takes things to a whole other level!

The freestanding handstand push-up requires tremendous strength, balance and total body control, so before you think about training for this move, I suggest getting to the point where you can do at least ten wall assisted handstand push-ups and hold a freestanding handstand for a minimum of thirty seconds.

When performing handstand holds, I’ve often found it helpful to look in between my hands. With the freestanding handstand push-up however, I’ve found it better to look a few inches in front of my hands. Since the balance changes throughout the range of motion, I recommend practicing static holds at the bottom and middle positions of the range of motion to help train for this feat.

The One Arm Handstand Push-up

Often discussed, though never actually executed, the one arm handstand push-up is the holy grail of bodyweight strength training. In theory, the one arm handstand push-up is the ultimate calisthenics exercise. However, a full, clean rep has never been documented as far as I know. I have no doubt that someone will eventually perform one (and get it on video), but in the meantime the rest of us will just continue to train hard and keep the dream alive.

Watch the video below for more:

Learn How to Back Flip in 31 Days
Learn How to Back Flip in 31 Days on Amazon

For more from Al Kavadlo check out his website here. He is the author of several books Pushing the Limits!, Raising the Bar and his newest book Stretching Your Boundaries, as well as the head instructor of the Progressive Calisthenics Certification.


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Is a One Arm Handstand Pushup Possible?

I got this message from Mark in response to the recent post on the one arm handstand pushup.

He makes a really good point, that if people were doing the move, it would be somewhere on video, and everyone in the hand balancing world would achieve it.

Sorry to be a cynic Logan,

But I have this sort of thing happen before, where someone who’s not familiar with hand-balancing tell me they have seen something like the one-handed handstand pushup you mentioned your friend telling you about. You might find they are doing something which is still hard, but which you have seen many times before but which could be mistaken by an amateur. I think you really need to see this sort of thing for yourself either through video footage or with your own eyes.

Either that it’s something that only light bodied 5-7 year olds can do and who lose the skill as their strength to weight ratio (invariably drops) as they get older.

As far as I know there is no footage of the move you are talking about yet on youtube. Every handbalancer would know it was something major if they saw it and it would fly round to the rest of us (I imagine) before too long. The person would gain extreme recognition and respect from the community (I imagine) instantaneously.

I am not saying it’s not out there or not possible, but not yet at any rate….

There was a moment in the following video @2.24 where Caiyong did something which I thought was impossible.

That transition has to be one of the most difficult strength moves in the world. I’ve seen that move before, a one arm pressup from the one arm lever, but never with as little explosiveness and in that strict of style.

Cai Yong is an amazing hand balancer. So perhaps the true one arm handstand pushup isn’t possible (yet) but this that doesn’t mean you can’t build unbelievable strength through hand balancing and do other equally jaw-dropping moves.

Walking and Jumping On Your HandsWalking and Jumping On Your Hands on Amazon
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One Arm Handstand Pushup?

We continue the stories from Jonathan today. This story is about a true one arm handstand pushup!

Tumbling Illustrated
Tumbling Illustrated on Amazon

The other story is from an other friend of mine, who’s Chinese and who’s dream is to be a performer, either an acrobat, or a singer. Today, she was back from China, where she spent 10 months training in one of their national circus schools. She was showing me various photos and videos from the circus school and the place she was living in, and we were talking about acrobatics. I mentioned my intention to one day go to Kiev and train with Yvan Zubkevych and to China to train with their acrobats, specifying that one of my main goals was to one day be able to do a full range one arm handstand push-up (on a pole, so I can go down to touch my chest or my shoulder), as I’ve never seen anyone doing it, and there’s no videos of any of the people who claims to have been able to do something like that.

She said: “Oh, but the kids there, they do that like it’s nothing!” Shocked, I was like: “Uh, are you sure you’re not mistaking? Like, they actually hold a one arm handstand, keep their body straight, bend their arm and shoulder, and they press up again, while staying in a vertical position?” And she said: “Yeah, they were going until the top of their heads touched the ground, then they were pressing back up.” Needless to say, I was pissed that she filmed lots of cool performances, but omitted to film such an incredible strength feat. It’s not her fault, she’s not really interested in strength, and I can understand that acts are flashier than conditioning, but damn… A one arm handstand push-up? It almost made me cry like a baby!

I told her that the next time she’d go there, she’d be damn obligated to film it for me. And, actually, I might go there myself, as they are open to skills exchange and seem to need better strength training (Obviously not for those few kids doing one arm handstand push-ups, but their conditioning is strictly limited to what they’re practicing, which make them really specialized and not well groomed on an overall perspective. Plus, they got weights and the kids are using them, but nobody shows them proper form either, and most of them would simply need more strength.), but it might take a couple of years, because I’ll perform for a good two years and save my money to wander around the world and train crazy hard without having to worry about food or stuff.

But when I’ll go, I’ll see for my own eyes if they can really do it. And I think they very probably can, since my friend isn’t interested in strength she wouldn’t have made that up. Plus, I believe it is possible to achieve, and I’ll be training hard to get it.

So there you have it. There has been lots of debate on if the one arm handstand pushup could ever actually be done in strict form as outlined in Convict Conditioning. Some people say yes, others say no. Unfortunately although there are stories like this, it has never been caught on video to my knowledge. I believe some day it will be done.

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Chinese One Hand Stand Master

Just the other day I received this amazing story from a professional hand balancer by the name of Jonathan Ferland-Valois.

I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the story but that doesn’t make it any less of a good story. And I do hope its true.

Hi! I heard a story you might find very interesting. I work in a circus, I’m an acrobat that trains in hand balancing, aerial straps, and strength stuff (per example, I’m working hard on my one arm handstand push-up). I already talked with you like one year ago, when I was still in Montréal (I told you I was an ex-gymnast). Today, I was training with other performers for a show we’ll have soon, and one of them told me that cool story:

ONE HAND BALANCEOne of his friends, a good hand balancer, went in China, where he wanted to train with a master of hand balancing. That master was in his 60’s. The student showed him his one arm handstand, which was already very good and solid. The master went in handstand right beside him, then he used one of his hands to slap him, telling him to do better. The student tried to correct his position, and then the master stayed in one-arm handstand, and started pushing him with his free hand, saying: “You’re not enough stable.” The student felt back in a regular handstand, but the master kept pushing him with his free hand, telling him he wasn’t stable, until the student just fell on his back. All the time, the master stayed in one arm handstand, pushing and slapping the student.

When the student (the performer’s friend) came back, he had crazy good hand balancing. And his numero was absolutely incredible. There was a 8 foot high stand, with handbalancing canes on it. To go on the stand, there was pegs, climbing with about a 45 degrees angle. Do you know how the guys was going on the stand? Not climbing the pegs on his hands, it would have been too easy. He was doing it in Thomas flares! And another crazy trick he had in his routine was a one arm back handspring, stopping in one arm handstand. That’s nuts, isn’t?

So, I asked my friend to find a video of that. Cause I really, really want to see. If I ever get the video, I’ll ask their permission to send it to you. Cause you already know very good western hand balancer. But maybe there’s a couple of very crazy hand balancers from far east that you’d like to know about! Anyway, now I want to go train in China, ha ha! And I’ll probably do it not this summer, but at the end of the next summer.

Good training, for pulling that firetruck!

Thanks for sending that in and I hope you get a hold of that video.

Hand Balancing Made EasyHandBalancingMadeEasy_on_Amazon

Good Luck and Good Hand Balancing,
Logan Christopher

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