-by Coach Cassi
With a Partner!
L1: Accumulate 25 HSPU from pike
L2: Accumulate 25 HSPU from box
L3: Accumulate 25 strict HSPU
***Partner coaches technique! No ab-mats!***
Time to flip things upside down, literally! Handstand pushups are an awesome opportunity to practice inversion, gain confidence in an unfamiliar position, and build tons of strength. While at a glance it may seem like the HSPU only focuses on shoulder strength, it also promotes stability and strength through the rest of the body - specifically the midline! Without that strength and stability our HSPU will be less efficient and will feel less strong.
This challenge will allow us time to practice being upside down outside of a workout. The perfect time to slow things down, focus on our movement and gain some control before we enter our next WOD. No matter where you are with your current HSPU, this challenge is for you!
L1. Accumulate 25 HSPU from a Pike position.
When performing the pike HSPU we set our bodies up into a Downdog position. Hands and feet planted on the ground, hips high in the air. As we lower down to the ground we keep our chin tucked towards our chest so that the TOP of our head is lowering down. By the time we reach the ground with the TOP of our head we should be in a triangle or "tripod" position relative to our hands.
Having a tough time with the "tripod" at the bottom of your pike HSPU? Try starting your movement with your hands on a turf line. Now, once you start the movement your head should be reaching away from that line (in the direction of your fingertips but further out!). This may help give you a clear visual of where your head and hands should be. Still stuck? Ask your partner to help by marking where your head is touching the ground so that when you stand back up you can see how much further you need to move to reach the "tripod".
L2. Accumulate 25 HSPU from a box.
When performing the box HSPU we first need to choose an appropriate height to set ourselves up. This movement can be done on any side of the box (20, 14 or 30 inches) and gets more challenging the taller the box gets. You can also start the movement with your knees on the box or with just your toes on the box. On your toes will make the movement a little more challenging as you will be even closer to reaching the Handstand position this way.
Once you've found your set up position (any combination of the above options where you can safely lower your head down to the ground) you are set to begin the box HSPU. Start by tucking your chin to your chest so that the TOP of your head reaches for the ground. As you lower down you'll be lowering your head away from the box, as you press back up you'll be pressing your nose back towards the box. Just like with the pike HSPU we are still aiming to create a "tripod" by the time your head touches down to the ground. When you've created the "tripod" at the bottom of your box HSPU your elbows should be held in a 45* angle, avoiding them flaring out to the sides. Think of having them point towards the corners of the box, not beyond there.
In this movement we often see athletes reaching towards the ground with their chins leading the way. If you've forgotten to tuck your chin down at the start of this movement this may happen to you! Remember, at the bottom of this movement the TOP of your head should be in contact with the ground, not your nose or chin. Unsure of what you're doing? Have your partner take a quick video of your movement to see if it looks like the video here! If you're nervous about being upside down on the box, gain some additional experience in the pike HSPU to practice your inversion a little bit more. Then come back to the box when you're ready to try again. Take your time with this one, they can get spicy quickly!
L3. Accumulate 25 Strict HSPU.
When performing the Strict HSPU, we have already mastered the "tripod" position in each of the previous levels and are completely comfortable being upside down. As we set up for this movement we kick up to a full handstand, arms already locked out, to start our time against the wall. In this starting position our body should be stacked up in one solid line from toes to hands. As we lower down to the ground our chin stays tucked in, our glutes are squeezed and bellies are braced. At the bottom of the handstand we are in a "tripod" position and our eyes are focused straight ahead. Once we start to press up the goal is that we continue to look forward to ensure that we keep a straight line from our toes to hands. This ENTIRE movement is completed with only your feet against the wall.
Struggling to move in a straight line? To avoid the feeling of struggling through a press you may be arching your back to escape the actual press of the movement. If this is happening, there's also a good chance that as you press up you are looking down at the ground and moving the top of your head closer to the wall. Keep the TOP of your head down at all times with your eyes looking straight ahead.
Allowing your butt and legs to touch the wall as you go? Remember to squeeze your glutes and belly! Keep your hips lifted away from the wall, squeeze your butt and pull your belly button in towards your spine on the way down and up through the Strict HSPU. It's easy to ignore your midline while doing the Strict HSPU but we aren't about what's easy!
Whichever challenge is for you (there's one here, I'm sure of it!), grab a partner, take a deep breath and flip onto those hands to get started!