If anybody tells you that you can’t teach an old ninja new tricks, don’t believe them. This ninja recently learned a couple of ways to improve a long time favorite exercise: The Handstand Push-Up.
I have been doing handstand push-ups since high school. I love them. You can do them against any open wall. You look cool doing them. They shred your shoulders and back and they are a natural compliment to pull-ups.
When Yavor stopped by and left a comment on the Weird and Wonderful Avocados post, I went to scope out his site: Relative Strength Advantage. Turns out, Yavor is also an admirer of the handstand push-up. His post Handstand Push-ups: How to Make Them Easier and Get Super Hero Shoulders in the Process is a must read for rookies and pros alike.
After reading Yavor’s post, I paid more attention to my head position. My instinct is to look at the floor. I tend to want to see what I am about to face-plant into. Following Yavor’s advice, I tried looking forward, at the far wall, instead of down at the floor. Instant improvement. The exercise was smoother through the full range of motion and with a properly aligned body I was definitely working more efficiently.
When Kristina Dobyns of Freestyle Fitness Addiction started following me on twitter, I had to check out her web site too. It was like hitting the daily double, when I came across her freestyle fitness move of the week…handstands. Kristina takes the difficulty level up a notch when she points out that by angling your feet in different ways, you place a huge demand on your core! I dare you to position your legs in different configurations! It’s hard! But good! And it looks badass.
Well, ninjas are badass, so I spent the weekend playing around with these. Kristina calls them freezes and she is not joking when she says that freezes place a huge demand on your core. It takes a lot to get to my abdominals. Plenty of years with swimming, boxing, and now TKD and I have solid ab strength…but after experimenting with freezes, my abs were feeling it.
If ninja pull-ups and handstand push-ups have got you thinking more about training your shoulders and working your back, then you should definitely read Matt Perryman’s article Training the Back. Another well thought out and well written article from Matt!
Meanwhile, how many of you that are dedicated to doing pull-ups or lat pull-downs are equally dedicated to handstands and handstand push-ups? Let us know in the comments how you incorporate handstands and handstand push-ups into your training.
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