Tag Archives | parallettes

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.

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Trampoline Handbook on Amazon

Watch the video below for more:

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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Straight Arm Strength

If you’re into hand balancing you MUST build strength in a way that is not done with weight lifting, or almost any other form of exercise.

The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing
The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing on Amazon

That is Straight Arm Strength.

I’ve been working a lot on this exact thing lately.

My friends at Gold Medal Bodies just put up a great video I think you should see.

Go here to watch it.

Ryan Hurst Straddle

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Parallette Training without Parallettes?

In the past three posts you’ve got tons of ideas on training you can do with parallettes. But what if you don’t have a pair of parallettes to train with?

One, you can easily make your own pair for cheap.

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Trampoline Handbook on Amazon

Two, you can replicate the same training with a variety of other objects. This video gives you more details. Not exactly the same but close enough to gain 95% of the benefits.

There are just a few days left to save 15% on Gold Medal Bodies awesome parallette training course. Just go check out P1 here and use the coupon code ‘LEGENDARY’ before March 31st.

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Combining Parallette Presses and Holds to Build Strength and Skill

Ryan Hurst from Gold Medal Bodies is here to show you how to move forward with your parallette training. Click here for Part 1 and Part 2. This is the third in a three part series.


By now, you should have developed some foundation strength in the basic parallette press and L-sit. That’s a great start, but we started off this series talking about advanced exercises like planches, and maybe it still seems like we’re a long way off from there.

Though it’s true we’re still not ready for advanced work, we can prepare for it by taking these basic skills and combining them into a combination routine.

Anyone following Logan is not going to be a stranger to the concept of sophisticated skills such as handstands and bridging. You’ve also been exposes to the idea of building from simple variations to more difficult ones. One way we like to achieve this is by building combinations – what we like to call “flows” – that put the basic movements together in more interesting and challenging ways.

Today’s video covers a simple flow exercise you can do on the parallettes.

As you can see, we’ve added one more basic exercise, then put them together into a simple combination.

The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing
The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing on Amazon

The routine goes like this:
1. Pushup
2. Swing forward to L-sit
3. Swing back to inverted press
4. Repeat

Perform this for 3 to 5 sets of 3 to 5 repetitions. Do this 3 days in a row, rest one day, then test your strength the next day to check your progress. We’ve included a sample two week program using this routine that will get you ready to begin serious parallette training – the kind that moves you toward advanced skills.

Download link for sample program

Of course, there’s much more to using parallettes than this. The possibilities are really almost endless, but you’ll need some basic strength and control before you can pull off the fancy stuff.

The program above is a starting point. Once you’ve given that a shot, we encourage you to check out our Parallettes One course, which takes these basics to the next level, building pressing strength and skill that will serve you well for any goal.


Gold Medal Bodies has a full blown course on Parallette Training. Until the end of March you can save 15% off the price of any P1 bundle by using the coupon code ‘LEGENDARY’.

Parallettes One

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Holding the Center: Introducing Parallette Holds for Core Strength

Ryan Hurst from Gold Medal Bodies is here to show you how to build a training foundation with parallettes. This is the second in a three part series.


If you’ve been practicing your parallette push-ups, you’ve probably noticed that your arms and core feel a little different from what you’re used to. Maybe after a couple of days, you started to get the hang of it, and as your technique improved, you were able to perform the presses more easily.

That’s great, because it means that you’re ready for the next challenge: the most deceptively simple “abdominal” exercise of all time (that actually works way more than just your abs).

Enter the L-Sit

The L-Sit is a fundamental “hold” exercise that exemplifies the whole body tension generated by proper parallette training. Check out this video for a complete beginner’s tutorial on parallette L-sits:

The key point, as in the pushup, is the focus on bringing your elbow pits forward. This allows you to lift your chest up fully and pack down your shoulders. In this position you can bring your hips forward and lift your legs higher, which you’ll find makes the exercise much, much harder.

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Trampoline Handbook on Amazon

Strong core activation is initiated with an emphasized full exhale and lock out of the knees into the full L-sit position. If that’s too challenging to start with, you can begin by training the basic tuck position to achieve better form and technique. Try to keep your hips between your hands, or even further forward.

When you can hold the tuck for five reps at five seconds each, you’re ready to move on to the full L-sit.

To make the transition from tuck to L-sit, extend your legs out to a full locked position, fold back into the tuck and relax down. Instead of extending the feel, think of flattening the knees.

While holding the tuck for up to five seconds, extend into the L-sit for one second and return the the tuck. Repeat and gradually lengthen the time with your legs straight. Eventually, you want to work for 5 reps of 5 second holds.

Don’t get discouraged – the L-sit is tough!

You can practice this every day, but don’t neglect your recovery. Keep the volume low and remember to focus on technique above all else.

Once you’ve got a strong L-sit, you’ll have the core strength necessary to begin moving around on the parallettes. That’s what’s coming up in the next installment – so practice this technique and let us know if you have any questions.


Gold Medal Bodies has a full blown course on Parallette Training.

Parallettes One

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Parallette Training Foundation for Full-Body Power

Ryan Hurst from Gold Medal Bodies is here to show you how to build a training foundation with parallettes. This is the first of a three part series.


If you’ve ever seen a gymnast perform skills like the planche, you’ve probably wished you could too. Maybe you even got right down on the floor and tried one. Then looked around to make sure nobody was watching after you landed on your face.

Most of the classic bodyweight feats of strength are really damn hard (that’s why they’re called “feats of strength”), but with the right foundation, there’s no reason they can’t be achievable. But how do you build that foundation? Surely, if it were as simple as doing more bench presses, you’d see a lot more people who could perform a planche.

There’s a right tool for every job, and the tool gymnasts use to build upper-body strength for floor work is a set of parallettes.

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Learn How to Back Flip in 31 Days on Amazon

Parallettes are great for a number of reasons. Not only do they allow greater stability and leverage than our hands have on the floor (which makes it easier to practice many skills), they’re small, light, and easy to build for yourself.

Everyone knows that pushing exercises are key for practical upper body strength, but what you may not know is how basic pressing can lay the foundation for more sophisticated, full-body movements, and parallettes are an ideal tool to help bridge that gap.

In recent years, parallettes have been adopted primarily by CrossFitters, owing primarily to their portability and cost. Unfortunately, the information on the web about parallette training is limited and simplistic. A quick check on YouTube shows tons of videos of people performing maybe three or four different parallette exercises, usually with poor form.

So let’s start there – by learning one high-leverage exercise with perfect form.

Enter The Parallette Push-Up

“Just a push-up?”

When you focus on your form and pay attention to finer details of the movement, you’ll find that doing correct push-ups on parallettes can be much more challenging than you’d expect.

As a reminder:
• Keep your elbows tight in to your side, with hands slightly wider than shoulder width. Shoulders stay over your hands and don’t let them drop below the level of the bar on the bottom of the repetition.
• Push and drive your elbow pits facing forward.
• A three second hold on the bottom and top position, with a locked down core, tight butt and legs will create a whole body tension, and make this into a full body exercise.

This exercise can be performed daily if repetitions are kept low (not more than 5 repetitions in a set).

We’ll have another video in a couple of days that builds on this foundation and really tightens up your core strength for more dynamic movements.

Until then, give these a shot and be sure to leave a comment and let us know how you like ‘em. Do you still think they’re “just push-ups?”


Gold Medal Bodies has a full blown course on Parallette Training.

Parallettes One

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On Parallettes

Back at the end of January I had the pleasure of meeting up with some new friends at a seminar they were hosting.

It was some top quality gymnastic strength type training information suitable for all levels.

It was a lot of fun and some of the exercises and drills were new to me. That’s saying something because I have a bit of experience in this field.

The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing
The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing on Amazon

The best part though has to be the progressions. As you know training with balancing and bodyweight exercises it isn’t always easy to make the jump from one skill to the next. Progressions are the key that makes it work.

I’ve convinced them to give you some info to get started regarding training with parallettes.

In case you don’t know parallettes are mini parallel bars. The sizes can differ but they allow for some fun and unique training as you‘ll come to see.

Any pushup bar or similar setup can be used.

In fact in my book The Ultimate Guide to Handstand Pushups I show you how to make them. But I’m not going to make you buy the book to get started.

Over at my friend Mike’s site he has a good tutorial on how to put a set of parallettes together for cheap.

And tomorrow Ryan Hurst will show you how to use them. Stay tuned.

Good Luck and Good Hand Balancing,
Logan Christopher

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