By David Thurin

Mastering the Handstand Push-Through: A Step-by-Step Guide

Ever watched those incredible handstand push-throughs and wondered, "How on earth do they do that?"

Well, you're in luck, because today we're breaking down this seemingly Herculean task into manageable steps. It's not just about brute strength; it’s a skill that combines balance, muscle power, and a bit of courage. 

Whether you're a gym junkie or just starting your fitness journey, this guide will help you master the handstand push-through, one step at a time. So, let’s turn the world upside down together!

The Importance of Spending Time Upside Down

Why Handstands?

Ever notice how kids love doing handstands? They're onto something! Handstands are not just a fun party trick; they're the cornerstone of mastering the handstand push-through. 

It's all about getting comfortable with a world where your feet are in the air and your hands are your new best friends for balance. This inversion of your body works wonders for your core strength, coordination, and even your mental resilience. So, embrace your inner child and get ready to see the world from a new perspective!

Tips for Comfort in Inversion:

  • Start Slow: Begin with small steps. Don't rush to kick up against a wall on day one.
  • Wall as a Buddy: Use a wall for support initially. It’s there to catch you, so you don't have to fear falling.
  • Shoulder Strength: Build up your shoulder strength. Strong shoulders equal better balance and control.
  • Spotter for Confidence: Have a friend spot you. It’s reassuring to know someone’s got your back, literally.
  • Gradual Progression: Gradually increase the time you spend upside down. It's not a race, so take your time.
  • Breathing is Key: Focus on your breathing. It helps with balance and keeps you calm.


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Utilizing Supports: From Counters to Corners

Why Supports Matter?

Think of supports like training wheels. They're there to help you find your footing (or should I say, "handing"?) in this topsy-turvy world of handstands. Using things like counters, refrigerators, or even walls helps you understand the balance and strength required for a handstand without diving into the deep end right away.

How to Use Supports Safely?

  • Sturdy Surfaces: Ensure the support you choose is stable and sturdy. A wobbly surface is a no-go.
  • Height Matters: Start with supports at different heights. A kitchen counter might be great to begin with.
  • Grip is Key: Make sure your hands have a good grip. You don’t want them sliding off.
  • Slow and Steady: Ease into it. Use the support to gradually shift your weight onto your hands.
  • Body Alignment: Pay attention to your body alignment. Your body should form a straight line from your hands to your toes.
  • Safety First: Always be mindful of your surroundings. Enough space around is essential to avoid any mishaps.

This approach to learning the handstand push-through is all about building confidence, strength, and balance in a safe and progressive manner.

Strengthening the Anterior Deltoid

Why Your Anterior Deltoid is Your Secret Weapon?

In the world of handstand push-throughs, your anterior deltoid muscles are like the unsung heroes. These muscles, located at the front of your shoulders, are crucial for lifting and stabilizing your body as you go upside down. 

Think of them as your body's own built-in support system for handstands. Strong anterior deltoids mean better control and stability, which is exactly what you need for that smooth, controlled handstand push-through.

Bodyweight Exercises for Anterior Deltoids:

  • Pike Push-Ups: Start in a downward dog position and bend your elbows to lower your head toward the ground. It’s like a push-up with an attitude.
  • Wall Walks: Begin in a push-up position with your feet against a wall. Gradually walk your feet up the wall while walking your hands closer to the wall. Hello, shoulder burn!
  • Handstand Hold Against the Wall: Kick up into a handstand against a wall and hold. Focus on engaging those shoulders.
  • Dolphin Push-Ups: Start in an elbow plank, then lift your hips up and back, like a downward dog but on your elbows. Then, dive forward, bringing your nose towards your thumbs.
  • Elevated Pike Push-Ups: Place your feet on a raised surface and perform a pike push-up. This increases the challenge for your deltoids.

The Role of Push-Ups in Building Shoulder Strength

Why Push-Ups Are More Than Just a Chest Exercise?

When it comes to building shoulder strength for handstands, push-ups are your bread and butter. But we're not talking about just any push-ups – we're talking about the kind that specifically target your shoulders. 

By modifying the traditional push-up, you can shift the focus to your shoulders, which is key for that upward push in handstands.

Lean-Forward Push-Up Technique

  1. Standard Push-Up Start: Begin in a regular push-up position - hands under shoulders, body in a straight line.
  2. The Lean: Now, here's the twist - lean forward so your shoulders go past your hands. This shift in angle puts more emphasis on your shoulders.
  3. Elbow Path: As you lower down, keep your elbows close to your body. We're not flapping wings here!
  4. Depth Matters: Go as low as you can while maintaining good form. No cheating!
  5. Push Back Up: Push back up to the starting position. Feel those shoulders working?
  6. Keep Your Core Tight: Engage your core throughout the exercise. A strong core equals a stable push-up.

Remember, quality over quantity. It's better to do a few correct lean-forward push-ups than a bunch of sloppy ones. These exercises are about building strength and control, the two pillars of a solid handstand push-through.

Mastering the L-Sit: A Crucial Step

The L-sit is a key exercise for mastering the handstand push-through. It's not just a display of core strength and hip flexor flexibility, but also a vital step in building the shoulder stability and control needed for handstands.

Step-by-Step Guide to the L-Sit:

  1. Start Seated: Sit with legs extended and hands beside your hips.
  2. One Leg at a Time: Lift one leg off the ground, hold, then switch. This begins engaging your core and hip flexors.
  3. Both Legs Lift: Progress to lifting both legs simultaneously, keeping them straight.
  4. Hold and Extend: Aim for holding the position, starting from a few seconds and gradually increasing.
  5. Maintain Form: Keep your core tight and back straight. Push down through your hands to lift your body.
  6. Regular Practice: Consistently practice the L-sit, increasing the challenge as you improve.

Mastering the L-sit is challenging, but it's a game-changer for developing the strength and balance needed for handstand push-throughs. Practice regularly, and you'll be on your way to achieving this impressive skill.

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Hand Placement and Spinal Mobility

Perfecting Hand Placement:

Hand placement is not just a detail; it's a crucial aspect of mastering the handstand push-through. Think of your hands as the foundation of a house. If the foundation is shaky, the house wobbles. Similarly, if your hands are not placed correctly, your handstand will lack stability.

  • Spread Your Fingers: This gives you a wider base and better balance.
  • Align Your Wrists: Your wrists should be directly under your shoulders for optimal support.
  • Pressure Points: Apply pressure evenly across your palms and fingers, not just on the wrists.

Why Spinal Mobility Matters?

Spinal mobility plays a significant role in achieving a smooth handstand push-through. A flexible spine allows for better alignment and control, making the transition between movements smoother and more controlled. 

It's about allowing your body to move fluidly, adapting to the shifts required during the handstand push-through.

  • Cat-Cow Stretches: Great for warming up the spine.
  • Spinal Twists: Helps in increasing rotational mobility.
  • Forward and Backward Bends: Improves the flexibility of the spine.

Putting It All Together

Now that we've covered the essentials – spending time upside down, strengthening the anterior deltoid, mastering the L-sit, perfecting hand placement, and improving spinal mobility – it's time to bring it all together for the grand finale: performing the handstand push-through. This is where the magic happens, where all your hard work and practice converge into one fluid, impressive movement.

Step 1. Start with a Solid Handstand:

Begin by getting into a stable handstand position, using the wall for support if needed. Remember the hand placement tips – fingers spread, wrists under shoulders.

Step 2. Engage Your Core and Shoulders:

Activate your core muscles to maintain a straight body line. Keep your shoulders strong and stable, just as you practiced in those shoulder-strengthening exercises.

Step 3. Initiate the Push-Through:

Start by slowly bending your elbows, just like going down in a push-up. Keep your body straight and aligned. No sagging or arching!

Step 4. The Role of Spinal Flexibility:

As you lower yourself, your spinal flexibility comes into play. Allow your back to curve slightly, enabling a smooth downward motion.

Step 5. Transition to the L-Sit Position:

As you reach the lowest point of your handstand push-up, begin to transition into an L-sit. This requires you to engage your core even more and lift your legs in front of you.

Step 6. Lift Back into the Handstand:

From the L-sit, use your shoulder and core strength to push back up into the handstand. This movement should be controlled and steady.

Step 7. Stabilize and Finish:

Once you're back in the handstand, stabilize yourself for a moment. Gently lower your feet to the ground or continue practicing the push-throughs.

Remember, the handstand push-through is a complex movement that requires patience and practice. Don't be discouraged if you don't get it right away. Each attempt is a step closer to mastering this skill. Practice regularly, be mindful of the techniques and tips provided, and most importantly, listen to your body and its limits.

Disclaimer: This is fitness advice. Please consult with your doctor before starting any new training routines.

Bottom Line

Mastering the handstand push-through is a blend of patience, practice, and persistence. By integrating skills like balance, strength, and mobility, you'll not only achieve this impressive feat but also enhance your overall fitness. 

Remember, each step forward is progress, so keep practicing, stay focused, and most importantly, enjoy the journey of flipping your fitness routine upside down. Stay Flexy!