Handstand Pushup



The vertical pushup or what is known as the handstand pushup is an exercise that focuses on your body being positioned in a handstand wherein your body is held up in the air. It is a great deal for the development of your upper body but it is not suggested to execute it every single day because as you elevate your bodyweight, your joints may not recover that easily, especially your wrists. Your muscles may recover quickly, but not your joints.

In order to perform the handstand pushup, you need to be comfortable with a simple handstand before adding some pushups, and you also need to build adequate balance before proceeding to the extensive part. So, for starters, you can seek assistance from a partner to hold you and to prevent you from falling as you invert your body upside down. Or you can do the handstand alone as long as you are against the wall. The goal is to hold on to the handstand position for around one minute or until you are comfortable enough to continue with the pushups. The handstand increases your strength as well as it improves your bodily balance. Once you have gained comfort and ease with the handstand, you can carry on with some pushups. Take note that doing the handstand pushup, your hands must be flat and wide on the ground.

This exercises aims to build upper body and shoulder strength, and to tighten your core and your buttocks. Moreover, you can do a series of warmup before moving towards with the handstand pushup, if you prefer your body to cope up with the requirement of this exercise. Swing your arms in a circular form; stretch your wrists by placing your hands on the ground while your fingers point to your thighs; execute a set of few pushups to warm your body.


The handstand pushup mainly targets your shoulder muscles, your biceps, your forearm muscles, your triceps. Your abdominal muscles and your gluteal muscles are also affected but as the secondary muscles.

This workout affects your muscles by stabilizing them, and by making them more balanced and more flexible, especially your shoulder muscles. Your forearm muscles become stronger, and gain more muscular mass as you lift yourself up. Your abdominal muscles also become more flexible as it gets contracted upon lifting, and your gluteal muscles become tighter, leaving your buttocks firm and plumped.

Sets and Repetitions

A variation of the handstand pushup is the use of a chair in which you elevate your feet onto a chair instead of being in a full handstand position. That would look like your whole body in a slanted position, and you go on with the pushups. The higher your feet are on the chair, the more contracted and flexed your shoulders become.

As a basic goal, you should be capable to withstand the handstand position around 15 seconds before proceeding with the pushup. For beginners, one set of 12 repetitions can suffice, and for the advanced, three sets of 12 repetitions are completed.

Top Performance Metrics

Mr. Manvel Mamoyan was able to attain 28 repetitions of the handstand pushup in just one minute.

Related Movements

For better and faster results, here is a list of exercises that can be coordinated with the handstand pushup:

  • Double under

  • Kettlebell swing

  • Power clean

  • Box jump

Related Foods

Below is a list of food that you can eat before performing your workout:

  • Dried fruits and crackers
  • Banana with peanut butter
  • Whole wheat cereal or granola
  • Fresh fruits

After your workout, you need to replenish your body with the following food below:

  • Brown rice with chicken or salmon
  • Protein bar
  • Yoghurt and almonds
  • Protein shake or protein bar

Celebrity Use

Celebrity trainer, Ashley Borden, has revealed some of her personal workouts that she shares with some of the sexiest celebrities in Hollywood, and the handstand pushup is part of her program.

Functional Use

Improvement can manifest in your increased core strength, leaving you with more physical energy to carry on with your daily routine. Your balance is improved, making you perform greatly in sports and in your regular tasks. Better balance means better support for your whole body and for your mobility. Your back muscles are also strengthened, which prevents you from being vulnerable to back injuries. Your abdomen and your buttocks become tighter, which are beneficial for being physically fit.