The good news is you don’t have to wait on that freestanding handstand to still work on your handstand strength! By following this progression you can develop the strength needed to work toward handstand push-ups–regardless of your freestanding handstand status. Begin by practicing your plank position. Maintain a plank on your toes and forearms–working to hold this position for 30-60 seconds at a time. Pull belly button to spine, and keep hips from making a valley or a mountain. Squeeze your glutes and anchor your rib cage to create stability. Once you can maintain this position for 60 seconds, move to a tall box and hold your plank position with feet on the box and hands on the floor. These positions not only develop and activate your core–they also strengthen arms, shoulders and chest which are critical for successful pressing–whether it be pressing the bar overhead, pressing a portion of your body weight in a push up, or pressing full body weight in a handstand push up.
Once you can hold your planking position with minimal fatigue—it is time to take your planking to a greater degree of difficulty. This type of handstand requires a great deal of core strength as you climb up the wall. Holding the inverted plank with hands away from the wall is a skill in itself. Feel free to practice a raised plank–with your hands away from the wall and feet extended. Maintain a tight core and active shoulders.
Walking your hands into the wall can be the most difficult part of this skill. Practice lifting your hands and shifting your weight from palm to palm. When you are ready–take small steps toward the wall with your hands as you continue to climb your feet up the wall. When as close to the wall as possible–hold your handstand for 30-60 seconds. Keep your head in a neutral position (look a the wall, not the space between your hands)–this will help to maintain a neutral spine.
Working on your handstand skills and strength can happen simultaneously. Practice a few balance drills, then drop into the plank position. Kick up a few times from you knee or feet—then head to the wall and walk you feet up and hold for 60 seconds. Working both portions of your handstand will help you move toward attaining that handstand push-up!