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Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

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Old 08-11-2006, 07:11 PM   #1
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I'm just starting this program. I consider myself in decent shape. Strong with little body fat to speak of. I'll tell you I tried to do a handstand pushup and it was a clownshow to watch. In my defense it's virtually the same as military pressing 190lbs, which I consider a lot. Even the self assisted ones were trouble. Is this an excercise I can expect to pick up quickly, or is it a more advanced excercise than I originally thought?
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Old 08-11-2006, 07:18 PM   #2
Frank M Needham
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Welcome to CF Jason and it depends. HSPU is not an entry level exercise, lots of folks have problems with it. I do assisted myself and am trying to get back to doing them as I once could.
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Old 08-11-2006, 07:30 PM   #3
Mark Brinton
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Hi William,

There's some good articles by Roger Harrell in the Crossfit Journals' regarding progressing to HSPU. Speaking for myself, yes, this is a hard exercise. I am at the point where I can do about 5 negative HSPUs in fairly rapid succession. Initially, I couldn't even do a handstand. My progression was to first use a smith machine to get inverted and do basically do inverted push-ups with my feet anchored to the top of the bar. Next, I kicked up into a handstand and held it for a second or two. I continued to do this until I was able to do about 20 handstands in rapid succession. I am now working on negative HSPU (controlled lowering). Maybe by the end of the year, I be able to do one or two.

Good luck,

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Old 08-12-2006, 03:31 AM   #4
Lynne Pitts
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Moving to Exercises
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Old 08-12-2006, 04:08 AM   #5
Brian Degenaro
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I built the strength for a handstand accidentally but this is also a great progression for building the strength and seeing where you are at in handstand training. Just keep doing elevated pushups, upping the elevation an inch or so when you can crank out about 10 pushups on the elevation. Eventually you would have raised yourself into a handstand.
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Old 08-12-2006, 08:22 PM   #6
James R. Climer
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I learned to do the HSPU in HS(1978) @ about 155- 165 lbs. as part of pole vault conditioning, it was impossible to get a single rep for about the first 2 weeks.

Being surrounded by like-minded types who liked to turn anything into a competition, I got up to 10 in a row, facing the wall style, and 6 reps max facing away. We walked on our hands for laps around the B'ball court, and climbed the 25-foot rope for time using only arms every day. All of this was developed in a single spring track season. It was a situation where "can't" didn't exist; either you stayed competitive, or got left behind.

I think the HSPU, and invertedness in general, is something that has to be gotten used to more than strength needs to be gained, (I just recently reached 11 reps facing the wall at 205lbs bw). I don't think I could do an 11-rep set of standing ovhd press at bodyweight.

Practice regularly in small chunks that won't burn you out or frustrate you. Even holding the position for time at first will do wonders to help make the mental adjustment.
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Old 08-13-2006, 07:26 AM   #7
Chris Forbis
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I think the difficulty of the HSPU approaches that of a BW Press as you take the HSPU to full-range with parallelettes.
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Old 08-13-2006, 10:32 AM   #8
John Seiler
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Progress shouldn't be anymore difficult than with any other exercise. The perceived difficulty with progress in difficult bodyweight exercises is that most of us are coming out of traditional weightlifting programs. Therein, the concept is starting with full and correct technique but light weight. The progression is with the weight.

Obviously, you cannot change your bodyweight like a barbell, so you must adjust technique and range of motion. With bodyweight, you progress by changing leverage or distance(ROM). Either way, you are continually increasing the workload/tension. Remember, for someone without your background in weightlifting, achieving a bodyweight overhead press might seem prohibitively difficult.
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Old 08-14-2006, 07:56 AM   #9
Roger Harrell
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Well not much to add. A lot of good feedback. The only addition, and one I bring up a lot. Do handstands whenever you get a chance. This will develop the strength and control necessary to get you going on HSPU. And, yeah, a good HSPU takes a while to develop.
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Old 08-14-2006, 09:41 AM   #10
Dennis Yiatras
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I find doing hspu's harder to do with my back against the wall moreso than with my stomach against the wall. I can go deeper that way and not lose my balance as much. Is there really any difference. I basically practice both ways but just more strength with stomach against wall.
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