Strict Handstand Push-up Progression (3 Steps!)

Today I've got a quick step-by-step tutorial for you on how to master handstand push-ups. If you're aiming to nail those RX handstand push-ups, whether they're Kipping or strict, this article is your ticket to building the strength and body positioning you need to crush it.

Before we dive in, let's talk about the number one key to conquering handstand push-ups: shoulder strength. Many folks make the mistake of attempting these push-ups without having enough shoulder power to press overhead properly. So, let's start by honing that strength.

Our ultimate goal?

Being able to strict press our own body weight.

I know, sounds ambitious, but getting close to that target will make handstand push-ups a whole lot easier. You can approach this by either shedding a few pounds while maintaining your strength or by amping up your strength without gaining weight.

Now, let's get into the drills.

Drill #1: Seated Dumbbell Press

Picture this: you, a couple of dumbbells, and a seat. Sit down, engage your core, and keep your torso upright.

Grab those dumbbells and press them overhead, fully extending your arms, and then control that descent back down.

Opt for a weight that challenges you within the 6 to 8 rep range, focusing on a deliberate tempo on both the way up and down.

This seated dumbbell press simulates the lockout position of handstand push-ups against the wall, helping you build the range of motion and strength required.

Strict Handstand Push-up Progression (3 Steps!)

Drill #2: Handstand Push-Up Negative

Time to get vertical. Kick up against a wall and initiate the handstand push-up negative. Lower yourself slowly, counting to five as you reach the mat with your head.

This controlled movement mimics the toughest part of the handstand push-up, developing the strength you need at that bottom position.

If kicking up is a challenge, make sure to check out our other videos to perfect that skill. And remember, using an ab mat under your head keeps your neck safe during these negatives.

Drill #3: Reduced ROM Handstand Push-Up

Now, let's dial it down a bit. Do strict handstand push-ups to a reduced range of motion. Stack mats or plates to adjust the height and keep practicing until you've mastered this scaled version.

Slowly decrease the height of the mats as you gain strength, ensuring you maintain proper form and control throughout.

Handstand push-ups are scalable, making them a fantastic exercise to tackle. Whether you stack mats to increase difficulty or decrease them to ease into it, you're building the foundation you need for full-range handstand push-ups.

The secret sauce here is that you're progressively increasing your strength and range of motion at a pace that suits you.

To Summarize

And if you're looking for more guidance, I've got you covered. Check out the free guide on handstand push-ups at

And if you're ready to take things to the next level, there's the Handstand Push-Up Power program. It's an 8-week, in-depth training series that will guide you through strict and Kipping handstand push-ups.

And hey, if you want it all – access to Handstand Push-Up Power, along with all our other courses covering various CrossFit® movements – then WODprep Academy is where you want to be. One annual fee, countless resources to up your CrossFit® game.

Thanks for tuning in!

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