How to Do Handstand Push-Ups: Techniques, Benefits, Variations

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Hand push-ups are not a move you might see at a commercial gym. They are an advanced exercise that requires a special set-up. But they provide a unique collection of benefits that you would hardly get from another exercise.

To do the banana push-up, you must first know how to turn. And if you can get to that point, you have to have good control of your body while it’s upside down. To even consider doing tree push-ups, you can:

  • Hold the plant against the wall for at least a minute
  • No injuries or restrictions in the shoulders and back
  • Show full range of motion in your spine, wrists and shoulders
  • Know what it means to engage your core — and be able to do it

All that said, anyone can learn to do hand-ups. All it takes is some time and some determination. There’s no quick way to achieve manual pushups, but the commitment is well worth it.

Also known as: HSPU

Target: All body; mainly upper body and core

Necessary equipment: A cushion or pad for your head

Level: Advanced

How to do push-up banana tree planting

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

This step-by-step guide covers rigorous handstand push-ups. It’s important to master the strict version before attempting the banana push-up, which is explosive and can lead to injury if done incorrectly. People should consider banana tree pushups as a step up from rigorous handstand pushups.

Before doing the handstand, prop a cushion (like an ab mat or yoga mat) against the wall to protect your head and neck.

  1. Stand facing the wall. Bend over and place your hands 6 to 12 inches from the wall, fingers spread wide and pressed into the ground. Kick into the banana tree plant. Kick hard enough to get you up in one swoop, but not so hard that your heels bounce off the wall.
  2. Stabilize yourself when you’re upside down by tilting your tailbone down, pulling your navel toward your spine, squeezing your abs, and squeezing your glutes. Your body should form a solid, straight line.
  3. Bend your elbows to lower yourself onto the mat below your head. Use control, so you don’t hit your head on the ground. Even if you have a mattress, that will hurt.
  4. Press your body back when the top of your head touches the floor by extending your arms. Think of pressing into the floor as if you were pressing a barbell overhead. Keep your muscles tight and focus on your body to prevent your spine from stretching out too much.
  5. Extend your arms fully (lock your elbows) at the top of the press and reset to lower for another rep. Don’t rush into the next rep. First, make sure you re-engage your core.

Benefits of the push-up function

Hand and foot pushups offer an exceptional set of benefits, all wrapped up in one exercise — that’s unlikely.

Strength in the body

The obvious and main benefit of banana pushups is increasing upper body strength. This exercise strengthens your shoulders, chest, arms, and back muscles at the same time.

Good upper body strength means everyday activities and responsibilities like playing games with your kids, storing groceries, or rearranging heavy furniture. Additionally, strengthening your shoulder muscles will preserve the integrity of your joints and help prevent injuries such as rotator cuff tears.

Core strength

In addition to upper body strength, tree pushups also improve core strength. To protect your spine during the banana push-up, you must focus on your body to create a solid cylinder that keeps your spine from bending, stretching, or flexing too much. .

A strong core, like strong shoulders, can protect you from injury. Strong and stable core muscles keep your spine correctly positioned during movement and can prevent back pain.

Buttock strength

Your glutes are technically part of your core, but you should pick them up here. Whether you’re doing a rigorous handstand push-up or a handstand, you must use your glutes to keep your body upright and stable.

During a rigorous banana push-up, you’ll work your glutes the entire time in an isometric fashion. While doing the banana push-up, you’ll be constantly squeezing your glutes to push your body upwards.

Balance, stability and body awareness

Perhaps the biggest benefit of banana push-ups is that they teach you to take real control of your body. Most people don’t realize how little control they have over their bodies. Try this quiz: Close your eyes, stand on one leg, and bend over to touch your toes three times. If you wobble, wobble or fall, you have room to work your way.

Proprioception refers to the perception of your body as it moves through space. Balance, coordination, stability and strength are all important factors in birth. Manual push-ups can help you develop and improve self-acceptance due to their reversible nature.

Gymnastics skills

In CrossFit and calisthenics, the best athletes have fine-tuned gymnastics skills. Practicing push-ups, modified or not, can help you develop the skills you need to become a great CrossFit or gymnast.

Super funny

Exercise should be fun – no one sticks to a routine they don’t enjoy. Manual push-ups can add fun and variety to your workout routine. They are unique, challenging and gratifying. When you hit a milestone, such as when you first planted a push-up banana tree or strung five in a row, you’ll feel proud, excited, and energized.

Other variations of push-ups

You can do this exercise in a variety of ways to meet your skill level and goals.

Modified push up

To start developing push-up strength — upper body strength in the chest, shoulders, and triceps — try the modified push-up exercise. Push-ups on your knees or against a wall can help you establish basic strength before moving on to more difficult exercises.

Push up often

Once you’ve mastered the modified push-ups, you can move on to the standard push-up, which also challenges both your core and upper body. Regular push-ups serve as a phenomenal banana push-up alternative because they develop pushing strength and teach you to focus on your body to keep your spine neutral.

Pike Push-Up

The Pike push-up mimics the banana tree push-up movement without much risk of injury. They help strengthen your upper body and core.

  1. Get into a downward facing dog position. You can keep your feet flat or lift with your toes.
  2. Bend your head to the ground until it touches your head lightly.
  3. Self-press back.

Box Pike Push-Up

Box pike pushups provide a bit more challenge than regular pushups and standard pushups because your lower body will be elevated, thus creating more tension during pushups.

To do a box push-up, prop up a sturdy box against the wall. The higher the box, the more difficult the exercise. You can use your toes or knees as a base. If using toes, place them in the center of the box and make sure your shoes have a good grip. If using knees, you may want to put a pad on top of the box.

  1. Get into a downward facing dog position. Your hands should be 10 to 12 inches in front of the box, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Take turns lifting your feet onto the box.
  3. Press into the floor, straighten your back, and focus on your body.
  4. Slowly lower your head to the ground and press back.

Common mistake

As a complex exercise and requires a lot of technique, hand push-ups have a lot of room for error. This is especially true for the banana push-up, but all of the common mistakes below apply to the right hand-up as well.

Turn back

Your spine should stay in a natural position during the entire movement. If your back arches or your ribs seem to flare up, it’s a sign that your lower back is stretching, which can be dangerous and painful.

Kick to the wall

Some people have trouble minimizing side-to-side motion while doing push-ups with their hands. If you keep bouncing off the wall because your heel kicks the wall during the ascent, it’s likely due to an unrelated back-and-forth motion. Stretching and squeezing your glutes can help you keep the pattern of motion upright.

Push off the wall

If you find yourself falling at the top of each rep, you may be faking your back. It’s common to see people push themselves off the wall when they get tired — this can be compared to arching your back while pressing overhead weights. Again, engaging your core is the solution to this common mistake.

Uncontrollable downhill

Probably the most common mistake of them all, this usually happens when people try tree pushups before they’re ready. But it can also happen to experienced athletes when their muscles get tired.

Controlling your fall prevents you from hitting your head on the ground, which is painful and at worst can lead to concussion or neck injury.

Arms too wide or narrow

Correct hand position is the key to successful push-ups. If you put your hands too wide or too narrow, you will create more work for yourself because the movement becomes less efficient. Experiment with hand positions to find what works for you.

Safety and Precautions

Hand push-ups are technique and ingenuity. One mistake can lead to serious injury, which is why it’s so important to move through the progressions correctly and modify the movement until you can do the resistance. push with your hands gracefully and confidently. Stay safe by taking the following precautions.

Play your role

Warm up with movements such as arm circles, band pulling, PVC threading, and shoulder presses. Helps blood flow and loosens joints to ensure you have full range of motion during exercise.

Not only will you feel ready and ready, but research shows that warming up before exercise can prevent injury and improve athletic performance.

Do not rush

Slow down. Hand push-ups are not an exercise you can do quickly (although you should reconsider diving into any exercise). This movement requires keen body awareness and fine motor control. It takes out as much from your brain as your body.


There’s no shame in scaling down any movement, especially advanced (or super-advanced) moves like push-ups. In fact, revision is admirable, as it demonstrates a willingness to learn and improve.


If you’re up for a challenge, try this move and others like it in these CrossFit workouts:

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