Tired of the same ol’ boring workouts at the gym? Has your progress stalled because you have done the same exercises so long that you no longer get sore?
Time for some handstands, baby!
Handstand push-ups are an interesting animal in that they really target the back or your shoulders like no other free-weight exercise. You’ll “feel the burn” in your rear deltoids and trapezius muscles.
I’ve been working with a personal trainer for the last year and my shoulder development has increased exponentially. For whatever reason, I’ve been able to develop these muscles better than most. I love how they look when I “get pumped”. That’s admittedly led to a bit of a shoulder exercise addiction for me.
The only complaint I can issue about my shoulder development has been with my rear shoulders. They just don’t seem to have that “full” look, even when I get a lot of blood pumping through them. They look great from the front but as I turn my body sideways, they don’t look nearly as big.
I was off to my personal trainer with questions on what I could do to correct this imbalance? I was given a subscription for bent over lateral raises and handstands.
I immediately saw the value in the bent over lateral raise just by looking at how they target the muscle but handstands? I quipped that I might be crossing over into CrossFit territory – and then I tried my first set.
I dare say that nothing will increase rear shoulder development like handstand pushups. I’ve been going at them for a total of four months now and my shoulders have drastically changed in appearance. They look full and muscular from any angle, just as I had hoped.
Check out the above video from Ryan of Gold Medal Bodies to learn how to build up the strength to do handstand push-ups but here’s the challenge I’ll lay out before you.
Try to do a single handstand on a wall (facing whatever direction you prefer) for a total of 60 seconds. Just go up and hold that position. I had to work for six weeks to accomplish this and I can now hold that position for almost two minutes (my goal).
Do some sets of simply holding the handstand position and incorporate push-ups on other sets, lifting your entire body with only the strength from your shoulders and arms. Finally, allow your body to push itself to the ground on the last few sets and simply fight the resistance of weight coming down as long as you can. These negatives will help to increase strength with every handstand session and you’ll notice a big difference in your next shoulder workout.
A bonus for all your hard work? You’ll notice a significant increase in your ability to balance on your hands. I’ve never been able to do this for more than a second or two and I can now manage handstands of ten seconds or more. I’m hoping I can get to a point of balancing for a full minute after a couple years of these exercises.
Handstands are also great for the core. You’ll notice far better results than simply doing planks or crunches. I’m so pleased by my results that I’m somewhat surprised that every body builder doesn’t incorporate handstands into their workouts. They work!
You’ll get the best shoulder workout around and the best part is that you can perform handstand workouts anywhere.