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3 Fitness Benchmarks You Probably Can't Hit

Think you're a strong and balanced athlete? How well do you perform these 3 advanced movements?

NUMBER 2: Handstand Pushup

[see: Handstand Pushup Video Demo]

What it is:

A handstand pushup starts with a successful, fully balanced handstand, as you might imagine. That’s the easy part though. After that, you have to control your legs and core as you let them fall backwards, while simultaneously performing an equally controlled pushup with your upper body. Unlike a regular pushup pose, you’ll need to keep your arms drawn along the sides of your body so that when you get close to the floor, your hands are near the waist so you can maintain your balance (or try to do so). After this, without letting any part of the body touch the floor, you push back up into a handstand.

Why it’s so challenging:

Handstand pushups are just a shade difficult because you’ll want the upper body strength and balance of an Olympic gymnast to complete them. Duffy notes that a regular pushup only requires you to push the weight of your upper body, whereas a handstand pushup makes you push the weight of your entire body. It’s an amazing feat of strength, plus you need the poise and grace (yes, you’ll need a lot of that) to control your body and keep it from crashing to the ground regardless of how much strength you have.

How to get there:

This is another one you’ll need to work up to, seeing as Duffy refers to it as “the ultimate upper body exercise.” If your handstands need work, you’ll need to improve your balance by doing them next to a wall, then you’ll eventually have to move out into the open to really master it, building you static strength and balance, according to Duffy. Other necessary exercises will be doing modified versions of handstand pushups, which become more and more like the real thing as you get stronger and more balanced. Put your knees on a flat bench and bend at a 90-degree angle at the waist, then place your hands on the floor shoulder width apart, press your hands into the floor and raise your body up. Do this for two to three weeks, 3 sets of 10 reps before moving onto another modified version in which you place your toes instead of knees on the bench. After this, you’re ready for handstand pushups against the wall before you move away from it, then you’ll be on your way. Of course, start with what challenges you and move ahead from there.


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