The Press Series: Foundations to the HSPU

Workouts

The Press Series: Foundations to the HSPU

Becoming fitter, stronger and healthier with using next to no equipment is an appealing prospect for anyone. At a time when supplies of at-home gym equipment — from dumbbells to treadmills and resistance bands to massage guns — are threadbare, we’re having to get more inventive on how we’re getting our fitness fix in at home, with low-cost solutions becoming more and more popular.

 

One such method is calisthenics. A method of training that’s now synonymous with gravity-defying strength exercises, primary calisthenics exercises include muscle-ups, handstands, front-levers and human flags or varying takes on pull-ups and dips. Each exercise can be performed on a single bar, two parallel bars or with just your bodyweight. Crucially, with calisthenics, there are no weights, no machines and no excuses to try your hand(s) at it. Strength gains come quickly, too – a University of Palermo study researched the effects of calisthenics versus free weights in a study group of 28 men that were split evenly into two test groups. After eight weeks of training, the calisthenics group found that they had improved posture, lower body fat and increased their max rep counts on press-ups and pull-ups. Conversely, the opposing group — who had continued with ‘regular’ weight training — saw no such increase over the eight weeks.

 

Here, Third Space Personal Trainer Stu Slater shares a no-weights calisthenics workout that’s ideal for beginners looking to build strength without weights. You’ll be focusing on building the strength and efficient movement patterns to perform a handstand push-up (HSPU). You’ll work through a primer to ensure you’re moving correctly, a primary workout to get the reps in and, to close, a dedicated core session. “Performing a HSPU (Handstand Push Up) is up there with one of the hardest bodyweight exercises you can perform,” Slater explains. “For perspective on what you’re asking of your shoulders, take 75% of your body weight and divide this number by half, turn this number into a dumbbell in each arm and try to press up wards. This is effectively what you expect of your upper body and the load your shoulder joints experience during the HSPU.”

 

“The foundations of a HSPU are rooted in a solid ‘Over Head’ Shoulder Position, high levels of control across our Scapula and Core, as well as sufficient strength and power in the Deltoids, Trapezius and Chest. This programme is an option for building these very foundations. “

 

WARM UP & PRIMER

 

Angry Cat Happy Cat – 10 reps x 2-3 sets

1) Start on all fours, with your hands and knees stack directly under your shoulders and hips respectively.

2) Engage your abdominal muscles and arch your spine upward toward the ceiling (angry cat), exhaling as you do so.

3) Hold the position for a few seconds, then slowly relax your back and allow your stomach to fall toward the floor, stretching your back downwards (happy cat), inhaling as you do so.

4) Hold for a few seconds, then return to the starting position and repeat.

 

Dead Bugs  – 10 reps x 2-3 sets

1) Lie on your back with your arms extended in front of your shoulders.

2) Bend your hips and knees to a 90-degree angle.

3) Contract your abs and press your lower back into the floor.

4) Take a deep breath in. As you exhale, slowly lower your left leg and right arm toward the floor. Keep your abs tight and don’t let your lower back arch.

5) Slowly return your arm and leg to the starting position. Repeat with your opposite arm and leg. 

 

Body Saw – 10 reps x 2-3 sets

1) Start in a low plank position forming a straight line from head to toe and your shoulder stacked directly above your elbows.

2) Brace your core and push the floor away from you.

3) Slowly rock forward and backward maintaining an abdominal contraction.

4) Repeat for the designated number of sets and reps or time period.

 

McKenzie Push Up – 10 reps x 2 sets

1) Lie on your front and place your hands to the side of your torso.

2) Extend your elbows whilst keeping your hips in contact with the floor.

3) To add some rotation, gently move your chest to the left and the right to modify the stretch

 

Under Switch – 6 reps x 2-3 sets

1) Start in bear position. Facing the floor, shoulders stacked on top of your wrist. Legs are bent at 90 degrees, hips are stacked on top of your knees.

2) Pivoting to the right, take your right hand off the floor, bringing it to your chest and slide your left leg under (keeping your legs bent).

3) Turn all the way until your right foot is flat on the floor.

4) Rotate back to your bear position turning to the left sliding your left leg through and then repeat on the other side.

 

MAIN WORKOUT

 

High Plank with Shoulder Taps  – 16-20 reps x 3 sets

1) Start on your hands and knees, then push up into a high plank position.

2) Brace your core and hold this position.

3) Now tap your left shoulder with your right hand and then your right shoulder with your left hand. Continue alternating for designated number of sets and reps.

 

Assisted Push Up – 8-10 reps x 3-4 sets

1) Start in a plank position forming a straight line from your ankles to your head, then lower your knees to the floor.

2) Brace your core and lower your chest to the floor, whilst keeping your elbows tight to your torso.

3) Engage your pectorals/chest to push yourself back to the starting position and repeat for designated number of sets and reps.

 

How To Down Dog To Up Dog – 6-8 reps x 3-4 sets

1) Start in a high plank position with your hands and feet shoulder width apart.

2) Bending at the hips, move your chest gently towards your thighs and your heels toward the floor. Maintain a slight bend in the knees if necessary.

3) Relax your head and neck, then in one smooth motion lower your hips all the way to the floor and bring your chest and head up.

4) Reverse the movement and repeat.

 

How To High Plank Low Plank – 10-12 reps x 3 sets

1) Start on your hands and knees, then push up into a high plank position.

2) Brace your core and hold this position.

3) Now lower yourself down onto your forearms, one at a time.

4) Push back up into a high plank position, one arm at a time and continue alternating for designated number of sets and reps.

 

CORE

 

Butterfly Sit Ups – 16-20 reps x 2-3 sets

1) Start on your bum with the soles of your feet together.

2) Lower yourself back to the ground slowly, bringing your hands up above your head as you do so.

3) Engage your core and use your arms to bring yourself back upright and touch your toes.

 

Copenhagen Side Plank – 20-30 seconds x 2-3 sets (each side)

1) Lay on your side with your feet just underneath a bench.

2) Place your bottom elbow and forearm directly under your armpit and squeeze your fist tight. Place your top foot on top of the bench and then lift your hips off the ground by driving your top foot down into the bench.

3) Lift your bottom leg up until it touches the bottom of the bench, squeezing your groin muscles.

4) Hold for designated time period and repeat on the opposite side

Not a member? Get the latest inspiration straight to your inbox

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Related articles