Advanced Bodyweight Exercise — Handstand Push Up From Crow post image

Advanced Bodyweight Exercise — Handstand Push Up From Crow

The handstand press or push up is a true test of skill, coordination and relative strength. Starting it from the Crow position adds a whole new level of athletic challenge.

If you can already do a handstand push up against a wall, this is a great skill to work towards. If you’re not ready for the handstand push up yet, consider starting with a steady diet of Rocca Presses until you build the necessary strength for more advanced movements. From there you can move on to the handstand press, and eventually to the variation performed from Crow.

Whether you’re ready to add this to your arsenal or just searching for some inspiration, take a look at the video below…

Handstand Press From Crow

Here are a few of the main cues for the exercise:


  • Shoulders pulled down away from your ears
  • Inner thighs tight to your upper arm (triceps)
  • Bend at the elbows
  • Tilt forward until your toes come off the ground

Make sure you feel comfortable in this position before moving on to the press!

Press Up From Crow

  • Use a quick dip down to project yourself back up
  • Drive your hips up over your head before pressing up
  • Start on a wall until you’re comfortable with the movement

If you’d like to work this movement into a freestanding handstand, make sure you’re able to hold a handstand on its own for at least 15 to 20 seconds first. You should also practice “tumbling” out of the handstand with a somersault so you can bail safely.

Enjoy! And be sure to let us know what you think in the comments below.

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{ 25 comments… add one }

  • John Sifferman January 14, 2011, 1:35 pm

    I can hold both crow and a handstand, but I’ve never tried this. Gonna give it a go – will let you know what happens :)

  • Ron January 14, 2011, 1:53 pm

    Nice one! I’m going to build up to this. I can do a few handstand pushups against a wall, sometimes off the wall, and the crow position. But combining them is something else! :-)

  • Aaron Griffin January 14, 2011, 2:47 pm

    I’ve also heard this called an “Elephant Press”

    • Adam January 14, 2011, 3:03 pm

      Hey Aaron,
      Interesting. Any idea why?

  • Mike Alves January 14, 2011, 3:05 pm

    Do you have any progressions for doing a handstand push ups against a wall with no equipment except for a mat?

    • Steve January 14, 2011, 4:09 pm

      Here’s a progression that worked for me:
      I started doing handstand pushups by starting with a static handstand against the wall. I built up strength by staying in a simple handstand for up to 3 minutes (with no rest), starting with 15 secs, 30 sec, 60 sec, and so on. It’s hard work, but it builds strength as well as the ‘body feel’ necessary to get comfortable upside down.
      Once I could do 2-3 minutes comfortably, I just started with small ‘dip’ motions in the pushup position, like 1/8 of a pushup, for reps and slowly increased the range of motion until I went all the way down to the floor. (All these exercises are against the wall.)

      That was 20+ years ago, and I can rattle off 10 handstand pushups any time with no problems. They’re fantastic for shoulder strength and health, at least for me.

      Good luck!

      • Johan January 14, 2011, 5:54 pm

        My tip is like Steve’s with a few extra tips. I found it very hard to see how I progressed if I only did a small part of the movement so I made a pile of books and used those to limit my range of motion. Then after a week or so I would remove a book and then do the HSPU with a little bigger ROM.

        Also doing negatives may help you a lot

      • Jenny January 17, 2011, 6:33 am

        If you have a training partner, he can hold your ankles or calves to stabilize your handstand. He can also help you pull a litte upward, so you can experience the full range of motion but with less effort.

    • Adam January 14, 2011, 4:35 pm

      Hi Mike,
      Good input from Steve!
      Here’s another good progression…
      Rocca Press (I’ll post a vid in a future blog post) -> Rocca with feet elevated -> L-Press with feet on the wall (your face is towards the wall, feet supported against the wall — perhaps another blog post idea there…) -> Handstand push up against the wall -> Practice handstands -> Freestanding handstand push up
      Takes some time, but it works…

  • Kelly-Fitness Overhaul January 14, 2011, 3:10 pm

    That is really awesome, you have some really good balance and strength to do that! I am working on holding steady in the crow and also doing handstand push ups with my feet in straps. I use the Universal strength apparatus and walk my feet up them, although doing them against a wall works too.


  • Nick Nilsson January 14, 2011, 3:11 pm

    GREAT exercise. I’m a huge fan of handstand push-ups. I’ll have to try that starting from the Crow position, too. Never considered it before. Might have to go to a regular gym to see if that one’ll get me kicked out :)

  • John Belkewitch January 14, 2011, 3:53 pm

    Very nice. Will be trying this one out later tonight!

  • Johan January 14, 2011, 5:57 pm

    Hey Adam. I have a goal to be able to do 5 freestanding HSPUs in a row. Do you think this exercise could help me on my journey? I was especially thinking about the balancing part in the HSPU?

  • John January 14, 2011, 8:05 pm

    what is a “rocca pushup”?

    • Adam January 14, 2011, 8:40 pm

      I’ll cover it in a future post.

  • Rosalie January 15, 2011, 11:19 am

    HHi Adam, This is a real challenge! I don’t think I have the arm muscles necessary for this one, but the first level is doable and I’ll try incorporating it in my routine. Who knows? Maybe I’ll be able to progress to the wall handstand@ Rosalie

  • Susan@Home Workouts January 17, 2011, 4:22 pm

    Definitely for my more advanced fitness clients…and no, I can’t do this one either :-)

  • Ian - HomeWorkoutBlog January 18, 2011, 10:23 pm

    Adam –

    Very impressive!

    I can hold the crow, but my handstand pushups need some work.

    I have been following similar advice to what Steve suggests – after developing the strength to hold the handstand for longer periods of time, I have been doing ‘baby reps’ that get bigger each week or so.

    I remember seeing one guy, nonchalantly sitting in lotus posture, suddenly press into a handstand much like you show in the video. Cool!

    Thanks for the post,


  • Michael February 23, 2011, 8:56 pm

    Hey Adam,

    I know this post has been up for a while but I just stumbled across it. Pretty cool stuff! Gave it a try tonight and its going to take some work. I dont have any problems holding the crow position and I can crank out 10 to 15 hand stand push ups, but Im having trouble mastering the transition, the first step of getting your hips above your head. Any suggestions on developing this transition? Just practice?

    • Adam February 24, 2011, 5:41 am

      Hey Michael,
      Lots of practice… You’ll get it. :)

  • Mike Alves February 24, 2011, 8:33 am

    Hi Adam,

    Still waiting on the rocca push up. Think you could show us some progressions? :)

    Thanks in advance,


    • Adam February 24, 2011, 12:11 pm

      Hey Mike,

      We’ll get to it. But it probably won’t be until the end of April since we have a crazy calendar over the next several weeks.


  • Jesse April 5, 2011, 7:15 am

    I’ve watched this video probably a dozen times and it just occurred to me that, like Adam said, a steady diet of Rocca presses would certainly help in building the strength to be able to do the Hanstand Press from Crow, but also adding in the spinal wave would help as well.

    p.s. I love this website. Its changing my entire outlook on fitness. Keep up the good work guys! I am learning so much!

    • Adam April 5, 2011, 1:05 pm

      Hey Jesse,

      Thanks for the kind words… :)

      Yeah, the Rocca will be a huge help building up to this. And the spinal wave does a great job of teaching you to “float” when leaving the crow position — key to nailing the handstand portion.



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