The freestanding HSPU is an exercise that requires great strength and body control. It begins in a handstand and should be performed with a straight body through the entire range of motion. As you bend your arms and descend from the handstand, the head will come forward in front of the hands, and the line of the body (if kept straight) will break from vertical. At the bottom of the HSPU, the forehead or nose should tap the ground and then, keeping a straight body, you press back up to a freestanding handstand with elbows locked out.

The freestanding HSPU should not be attempted until you can consistently hold a freestanding handstand with good form for 10+ seconds. Attempting HSPUs without being able to maintain a good body shape in a handstand will reinforce that bad form, as most people will arch their back in order to compensate for their lack of pressing strength and body control.

To develop the strength for a freestanding HSPU, you should practice slow negatives while focusing on maintaining a straight body position. Partial HSPUs can also be beneficial if you are able to maintain a straight body position through the entire range of motion.

Before attempting freestanding handstands, you should train your handstands against a wall. Wall handstands are most beneficial when performed with your stomach facing the wall. If your back is facing the wall, you will have a tendency to arch your back in order to get your feet on the wall. By arching your back, you are compensating for a lack of shoulder flexibility, and you will limit your ability to progress your handstand to more advanced skills. In a proper wall handstand, the hands are within 6 inches of the wall, elbows are locked out, shoulders are open, back is flat, legs are straight, feet are together, and the only thing touching the wall is the toes.


Prerequisites: wall handstand, wall handstand shrugs, strict HSPU against wall, freestanding handstand (10+ seconds)