Tag Archives: handstand Push Ups

Busting through those Late Winter Plateaus!

9 Mar

So you’ve made it to March on your New Years Resolution program of eating better, sleeping more, and getting some exercise, but now you’re running out of steam.  I get it: you put all your gusto into changing all of your habits at once, and you’re just a little bit fatigued at this point.  Yes! You HAVE seen some great results, but you want more!  What do you do when the program you have been so diligently following is getting stale and no longer giving you the results that you want?

This is the perfect time to change things up for the better, adjust your program to jump-start progress, and reinvigorate your enthusiasm for health and wellness.  With the weather warming up, why don’t you take your program outside?  There are plenty of ways to create challenging and fun workouts in the sunshine and away from all of the noise and clutter of the gym.  In addition, you’ll give yourself a needed dose of vitamin D after spending all those months cooped up indoors.

How about a complete change in program? After working hard for the last 3 months, nothing will get your exercise passion back like trying something different.  Personally, I like to completely revamp what I’m working on a few times each year.  This keeps me from feeling stale, as well as gives me new challenges to work toward.  For example, if you recently spent the last few months trying to really increase your strength in the gym with a progressive weight program, why not try a completely bodyweight program?  How do you add resistance you ask?  Well take that push up and invert it – handstand pushups are quite challenging, but work the same muscles that you would with a shoulder press or push press.






Why not finally master those pull ups you have been working on?  Nothing says I’m ready for the impending beach season like well sculpted arms and a nice strong back.  And I know that too many of you have avoided trying those pistol squats for fear of falling and making a fool of yourself.  Now is your chance to master all those 1-leg exercises that looked too intimidating.

And what about learning a new skill or sport?  I myself have endeavored to become proficient in the competition kettlebell lifts and the Turkish Get-up.  While training with kettlebells is en vogue these days, the competition lifts – and the training that goes along with them – is still something that I haven’t really experienced yet.  Even though I have been using kettlebells in my training for the last several years, I have no idea how many 1 arm snatches I can do in 10 minutes.  Think about something new that you’ve been dreaming about doing, and set your heart and mind to it.  Think of this as your New Year’s Resolution version 2.0!  Find yourself a qualified trainer or instructor in a new discipline and dive in.

Outdoor Workout

Sprint 50 yards

10 x Tree Stump Throws (can use a tire, sandbag, big rock)

10 x Tree Branch Pull Ups

10 x Log Lateral Hurdle Jumps

50 yard Bear Crawl

5 Rounds; 1 min. rest in-between

Bodyweight Workout

5 x Pistol Squats (each leg)

10 x Handstand Push Ups

15 x Inverted Rows on rings or bar

As many rounds in 15 minutes as possible

Kettlebell Workout

5 Sets

5 x Snatch/5 Windmill

10 x Swings

5 x 3 Turkish Get Ups (per side)


Let me know how you get through the next 3 months!

Three Months and 5000 Handstand Push-Ups

11 Jan

During this past Fall my co-worker Danielle was inspired by the Burpee Challenge to do a handstand push-up challenge.  The purpose was to improve her strength and stamina and see what other benefits might occur.  I happened to be doing some handstand push-ups with her, and I decided join the challenge. 

The Challenge

Danielle and I agreed to start with ten handstand push-ups (HSPUs) and would continually add one everyday until we achieved 100, thus a Handstand Push-up Challenge. Unfortunately, Danielle had to drop out because she developed a cyst in her hand and needed surgery.  I decided I would continue the challenge.

I was rather hesitant to agree to this challenge.

I was rather hesitant to agree to this challenge.  I have had tendonitis in both of my elbows and for the past year-and-a-half have been taking measures to allow it to heal.  To put things in perspective, here are a few of my stats:
Height: 6’4”
Weight: 209-215 lbs. throughout this challenge
Arm Length: 24”

After three months of finding my legs against a wall and over my head, here is what I learned:
1) My elbow tendonitis continued, but did not worsen.  I made it a priority to have a massage at least once a week during the last month to help alleviate pain and improve recovery.
2) During the last month, the number of HSPUs I was doing consumed my upper body routine.  In the midst of several workouts, my elbows would flare up.  Therefore, I stopped doing most pulling movements to allow my elbows to recover.
3) I did not notice much improvement in my upper body size.  However, I felt stronger and had more stability while performing overhead movements, such as overhead squats, jerks and push press. Unexpectedly, my 1 repetition max (1 RM) bench press (which I avoided for most of the HSPU Challenge) did not decrease.  In fact, it might have improved, but I do not know for sure because I did not test my 1 RM bench press prior to starting the challenge.

Then, there were the unexpected discoveries of the Challenge:
1) I could complete 25 HSPUs in the midst of changing my clothes; a great time saving skill.
2) I could impress friends, and sometimes embarrass them, by performing HSUP at parties and other social events.  There is only so much time in a day to complete 80+ HSUPs.

I have been asked if I would do it all over again? I am not sure if it was totally worth it, but it was fun.  It feels good to say I did 5000 HSPU’s in three months, and you can impress a number of strangers at casinos, or while waiting for elevators with HSPUs. Perhaps allowing for more recovery days would have been beneficial, or may be I did not have to perform as many HSPUs to achieve the same benefits.  I realize that I do not do enough overhead movements in my own training and that may be one of the reasons the benefits were so impressive to me.  Again, are 5000 HSPUs needed to achieve greater upper body strength and stability?  I do not believe so, intelligent training would certainly create the same benefits and perhaps with less tendonitis in my elbows.  That is the art of to training: creating the most optimal results efficiently, without injury.