HSPU – How to Get Started with CrossFit

CrossFit is a popular fitness program that combines elements of weightlifting, gymnastics, and endurance training. Handstand Push Ups (HSPU) are an important part of the CrossFit regimen and require strength, coordination, balance, and control. This guide will introduce beginners to the basics of HSPU in CrossFit, including what it is, its benefits, common mistakes, tips to improve performance, progression options, when to do them, scaling options, using walls for assistance, and getting started with HSPU in CrossFit.

What is Handstand Push Up (HSPU) in CrossFit?

A Handstand Push Up (HSPU) is a bodyweight exercise that utilizes both pushing and pulling motions to build upper-body strength and stability. The movement involves placing your hands on the ground while standing upright, then lowering your head and chest towards the floor until your arms are straightened out at full extension. You then push yourself back up into the handstand position. HSPUs are considered one of the most challenging gymnastic movements in CrossFit.

Benefits of HSPU in CrossFit

The main benefit of doing HSPUs in CrossFit is increased upper body strength and stabilization. Additionally, HSPUs can help you develop more core strength, as well as better posture and mobility in your shoulders and wrists. As an aerobic activity, they also offer cardiovascular benefits by increasing your heart rate and improving blood circulation. Finally, incorporating HSPUs into your workout routine can give you greater muscular control over difficult gymnastic movements like the muscle-up or ring dip.

Common Mistakes Made When Doing HSPU in CrossFit

One of the most common mistakes made when performing HSPUs in CrossFit is not engaging the core muscles. A strong core helps stabilize the entire body during this movement, so make sure you’re squeezing your abdominals and glutes throughout each rep. Additionally, some people tend to rush through the eccentric portion of the movement—the downward phase—which can lead to poor form and decreased efficiency. Finally, many newcomers fail to engage their shoulder blades correctly while doing HSPUs, which reduces overall power output and increases the risk of injury.

Tips to Improve HSPU in CrossFit

Practicing good technique is essential for mastering any exercise, but especially for HSPUs. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Make sure your elbows stay close to your sides and avoid flaring them outward.
  • Maintain proper alignment between your neck, spine, and hips throughout the entire motion.
  • Focus on keeping your midline tight from start to finish by engaging your core muscles.
  • Lower yourself slowly during the eccentric portion of the exercise for maximum results.

hspu crossfit

Progression Options for HSPU in CrossFit

When it comes to progressing your HSPU skills in CrossFit, there are several different options available. Some advanced progressions include kipping variations such as butterfly HSPUs or even freestanding handstands without support. For those who don’t feel comfortable attempting these more complex exercises yet, you can still make progress by focusing on strengthening your grip and perfecting your form on the basic version of the exercise. You could also try adding weight with a weighted vest or wrist weights.

When Should You Do HSPU in CrossFit?

If you’re looking to add HSPUs into your regular CrossFit workouts, they should generally be performed after any Olympic lifts or other strength-based exercises. This way you can use all of your energy for developing strength and skill instead of fatiguing yourself before reaching these more advanced movements. Depending on your individual needs and goals, however, you may decide to work them into any part of your routine.

Scaling Options for Those Uncomfortable With HSPU in CrossFit

For those who aren’t quite ready for full HSPUs yet or just want to get some practice before attempting them with free weight, there are plenty of scaled versions of the exercise available. Wall walks are great for helping you develop the necessary shoulder stability and pressing strength required for handstand push ups. Another option is negative reps—you lower yourself as far down as possible, hold it briefly at the bottom, and then press yourself back up.

Using the Wall for Assistance During HSPU in CrossFit

Using a wall or other stable surface as a prop can provide extra stability and allow you to focus solely on developing strength and skill rather than worrying about balance. To get started, set up near a wall and place your hands on it at shoulder width apart before kicking off into a handstand against it. From here you can practice hip shifting drills to develop the necessary shoulder stability needed for handstand push ups without having to worry about falling over.

Getting Started With HSPU in CrossFit

Now that you know the basics of HSPU in CrossFit, it’s time to put it all together! Start by setting aside time in your weekly workout schedule specifically dedicated to practicing handstand push ups. Incorporate different progressions as needed based on where you are currently at in terms of skill level. Lastly, always remember to warm up properly before beginning any strenuous physical activity to reduce your risk of injury and maximize your results.


Handstand Push Ups (HSPUs) are a key component of any comprehensive CrossFit program due to their ability to build upper-body strength and stabilization as well as overall core strength and mobility. This guide provides an introduction to HSPU in CrossFit, including information about its benefits, common mistakes to avoid, how to scale it depending on skill level, tips for improvement, progression options, when to do them within a workout routine, and how to get started safely with HSPU in CrossFit. By following this advice, you’ll soon be able to perform handstand pushups like a pro!

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