How to Get Your First Handstand Push-Up

The handstand push-up is sort of like the amex black card—it’s a sign that you’ve made it. It’s a signal to the world that you’ve worked hard enough to achieve the one thing that most people will never achieve. 

It’s a highly difficult movement that requires strength, flexibility, balance and coordination. But that shouldn’t scare you off—you’ve probably done many difficult things in your life. 

If you want to get your first handstand push-up, you need: 

  1. A great plan
  2. Consistent effort 

If you’ve got a solid plan, and you’re consistent, your first handstand push-up is nearer than you think. 

To make your life easier, we created a program to get your first handstand push-up. It’s structured and progressive, and it takes the pressure off of you to create a training plan from scratch. 

But for those of you who want to create your own plan, we’ve compiled a list of five perfect exercises to help you get your first handstand push-up. 

These five exercises are targeted to help you build the strength and skill necessary to achieve your HSPU goals. 

  1. Pike Push-ups 
  2. Negatives 
  3. Wall Walks 
  4. Seated Dumbbell Z-Presses 
  5. Single-Arm Overhead Dumbbell Tricep Extensions 

Let’s dig in! 

5 Exercises to Get Your First-Ever Handstand Push-up

Pike Push-ups

Why: If you want to earn your first handstand push-up, your primary focus should be getting stronger. You need to build strength in your shoulders, chest, triceps, and upper back. Pike Push-ups are a perfect bodyweight exercise to build the exact musculature needed to perform “as prescribed” handstand push-ups. 

Prescription: Aim for 5-7 sets of 5-8 reps. Focus on full range of motion so you don’t create weak spots.


Why: In fitness, negatives rule. And if you want to get your first handstand push-up, handstand push-up negatives need to be part of your training plan. This movement is sure to help you build the requisite strength to perform a full range of motion HSPU. 

Prescription: NOT TOO MANY! Negatives work on the eccentric portion of the movement, and will make you dangerously sore if done in excess. Aim for 3-5 sets of 4-5 reps. 

Wall Walks 

Why: There are two parts to a handstand push-up: There’s the “handstand” portion, and the “push-up” portion. Wall Walks will help you master the “handstand” piece by improving your balance, coordination, and flexibility. 

Prescription: Perform 3-5 sets of 3-4 reps. Keep the volume low, as these get intense quickly. 

Seated Dumbbell Z-Presses 

Why: To get your first handstand push-up, you need to do more than just get upside down. The Seated Dumbbell Z-Press is an accessory exercise designed to build your upper-body pushing strength through the use of dumbbells. This is also a great way to correct any muscle imbalances you might have. (Yay unilateral training!)

Prescription: Perform 4-6 sets of 4-8 reps. Feel free to go heavy. 

Single-Arm Overhead Dumbbell Tricep Extensions 

Why: The triceps are often a very weak muscle group. The Single-Arm Overhead Dumbbell Tricep Extension specifically targets the back of your arm, ensuring that weak triceps won’t keep you from achieving your HSPU goals. 

Prescription: Aim for 4-6 sets of 7-10 reps per side. Focus on full range of motion. And stay light-to-moderate with the load. 

Let’s turn your handstand push-up dreams into reality, shall we? And remember: If you want to take most of the work off your plate, enroll in our first handstand push-up program. We provide everything you need. Just show up and do the work. 

Cheers to accomplishing difficult shit. 🍻

Beginner Handstand Push-Up Program

Our Beginner Handstand Push-up Program is designed for anyone who covets the elusive handstand push-up. We’ll give you everything you need to help you get your first rep—and then some! The program is designed as an add-on—just complete your HSPU session before or after your daily workout.