Modified Handstand Pushups with Plyometrics Strength Drills


If you’ve ever watched CrossFit competitions or seen different WODs, then you might be familiar with those incredible handstand pushups some of the amazing athletes perform during their workouts. Well, if you don’t currently have the upper body strength needed to do this intense movement then this video will be perfect for you. Most people simply can’t perform handstand pushups, so Shellane will take you through a modified version of this exercise in the video below. The modified version of the pushup is still no simple task to complete so Shellane provides several excellent strength drills using plyometrics to help build up your upper body and develop explosive strength in your chest, triceps and shoulders which will help get you closer to performing a modified handstand pushup!

My name is Shellane Demarest and what you just saw me do was a variation of a handstand pushup which is very popular in CrossFit. Now for me, I did a modified version, as you noticed in the video and this means I didn’t bring my head all the way down to the floor. It took me a year to be able to do that basic movement because it’s extremely difficult to perform. You are probably looking at me and other CrossFit competitors who do this exercise and think to yourself that you will never be able to do that. Well, I am going to show you a couple of great exercises that you can include in your workout routine to help build explosive strength in your upper body. With hard work and dedication you will be able to get closer to reaching your goal of doing handstand pushups!

In the modified version of the handstand pushup I performed, I wasn’t completely coming all the way down to the floor. I actually had a five pound plate as well as an abdominal mat on the floor which would allow my head to touch it before pushing myself back up. As I stated before, upper body strength is a must with this movement.



Some accessory exercises that I had to do in order to perform this movement include plyometric pushups which are excellent exercises for building explosive strength. I’m using a yoga mat for my knees along with two 45 pound weight plates which I will place my hands on during this plyometric drill. I will get on my knees with my toes touching the ground and I will lower my upper body down to the ground like a regular pushup and then explode up and reposition my hands inside the weight plates and do another pushup. This will allow you to basically do a wide grip pushup (targeting your chest) and immediately follow it up with a narrow grip pushup (targeting your triceps). Repeat this routine continuously for the desired number of repetitions.

So these plyometric pushups give you that explosive action as you push your body up and explode by using the muscles in your chest, triceps and shoulders. Start off with your knees on the ground and then as you build up strength, move into a regular pushup with your knees off the ground.



You can also mix it up and do another variation of these pushups. These variations of the plyometric pushup will actually help you with your handstand pushups. Another exercise that I definitely recommend is a shoulder press using either dumbbells or a barbell and I like to do them sitting because the rest of my body is isolated. It’s all about doing accessory work in order for you to become proficient in your workouts.

So again, make sure to have fun with these and don’t get discouraged if you can’t do a handstand pushup after a few weeks of including these drills into your routine. It took me a year of hard training to be able to do them so be patient with yourself. The consistency and patience are the two things that really helped get me through this entire year while I struggled trying to do them. I have an excellent mobility coach who helps me with my mobility work as well as with my imbalances, so I suggest that you seek out a professional if you feel you need some extra help. Make sure the professional you find is trained and certified in this specific field. Best of luck in your journey to reach your fitness goals. Stay fit, stay blessed and I will see you soon!

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About Author

Shellane Demarest

I am a fitness professional whose journey began as an overweight child. Honestly, I am glad it happened that way. As I struggled with food and inactivity, I began to research nutrition and exercise. I'm now a CrossFit Level 1 trainer and I'm certified in several Les Mills fitness programs. See my profile page for more information!

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