On Tap for Today

A fun loving, inspired living blog

Today: Handstand push ups? Handstand push ups.


[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Two words I never thought I’d be so excited to see paired: handstands and push-ups.  Like most girls who spent hours and hours perfecting their underwater handstands, turning cartwheels across the beach and performing very amateur gymnastic “shows” as a child, I can still kick up into a handstand with the best of them.  Even though it’s been decades since I demanded that my parents “Watch this!” I can still get upside down with relative ease.  Push-ups don’t come quite as easily, despite my doing battle with the 100 push ups app whenever I have the chance.  Regardless, I’ve been waiting for HSPUs to factor into a wod since joining CrossFit Southie.

Before leaving the condo for class, I tested my outfit to ensure I wouldn’t flash anyone,  something I highly recommend.  And then I snacked on a little extra spicy guacamole, something I highly discourage.  Dangling upside down from a pull up structure is not where you want to be when acid reflux strikes.  Trust me.  The nerves set in long before the urge to heave, though.  By two o’clock, I was fidgeting at my desk.  This was no backyard front handspring contest.  We’re grown-ups now.  I’ve got responsibilities.  Not to mention a higher center of gravity, a mortgage, and a wedding (for which I will need my head very much attached) 72 days away.  Forget how fun this could be, this could be dangerous.  I began wondering how many hundreds (thousands?  millions?) of people crack a skull doing HSPUs each year.  You know what happens once my imagination takes over.  I wavered between wanting to find a YouTube video that would prep me for the skill, and thinking maybe I should fake my own death before class started.  For the record:  I feel this way before every class, whether it’s overhead squats, kettle bell swings, or box jumps.

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Does every CrossFit-er get nerves like this?  If the answer is no, please let me down gently.  Despite my terror doing battle with my excitement, I decided to bite the proverbial bullet and just show up.  And I am glad I did.  Our coach encouraged us to break the workout into “bite sized pieces.”  I certainly did that with the front squats.  Teeny, tiny pieces.  Like, two at a time pieces.  I achieved a new PR during the strength portion of the workout, and kept the weight light for the WOD and tried to concentrate on good form, thanks to the coaching cues I’d received earlier in the class.  When it came to the handstand push ups, though, I threw caution fear to the wind, and got after it.  Our coaches helped a few of us use bands, hung from the pull up structure.  This allowed us to be fully upside down, without bearing the full load of our body weight.  Others scaled the workout by doing decline push ups from boxes, or hand release push ups on the ground.  I love that there really is always an option for athletes of all abilities.  Once I had kicked up and was fully upside down, I cranked out 15 push ups in a row for all three sets.  It was such a rush.

While playing it safe certainly has its advantages (fewer bruises and no handstand hair, for starters), there’s a lot to be said for trying things that terrify and excite you.  Next up: rope climbs.  And karaoke!  Maybe I’ll even attempt math without a calculator!

Also On Tap for Today:

How do you overcome a bad case of the nerves?  Done anything exhilarating lately?

Author: Elizabeth

A writer, non-profit exec, a BC alumna, a CrossFitter, a FitFluential Ambassador, a (holy crap) 2x marathoner, and a very happy bride-to-be.

9 thoughts on “Today: Handstand push ups? Handstand push ups.

  1. I bet CrossFit is a rush! I haven’t tried it, but I think I’d spend as much time watching videos as I did working out. ha And I totally don’t blame you for the outfit check – that’s forward thinking right there!

  2. I laughed out loud reading this! I ALWAYS want to fake my death before a big run or workout. Congrats on accomplishing your goal!

  3. you might be my new hero…seriously HSPU sound crazy!

  4. I tried handstand push-ups once, at my very first crossfit class. Someone should have taken a video because it was worthy of an America’s Funnies Video awards! Cue kicking feet up to wall, instructor letting go of said feet and me immediately falling on my head (only about 6 inches). After that I worked hard on push-ups and decline push-ups for a while, thinking that someday I would be able to do a real handstand push-up, but then I quit and I have not tried again.

  5. Are you saying that you don’t currently still put on gymnastics shows? Hmrpfh. Also, math without a calculator seems really, REALLY risky.

  6. It took me forever to conquer just getting upside down to even try to do a HSPU. Now I can get into the handstand easily, it’s the push up part I still need to work on!!

  7. HSPU’s are one of my favorites!! 🙂 Awesome job and yay for no skull cracking!

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