The handstand push-up (press-up) – also called the vertical push-up (press-up) or the inverted push-up (press-up) – is a type of push-up exercise where the body is positioned in a handstand. For a true handstand, the exercise is performed free-standing, held in the air. To prepare the strength until one has built adequate balance, the feet are often placed against a wall, held by a partner, or secured in some other way from falling. Handstand pushups require significant strength, as well as balance and control if performed free-standing.
Handstand pushups increase the load on the triceps significantly over regular pushups, with the arms having to hold almost 100% of the body’s weight rather than an average of 40% during normal pushups. Load is also shifted from the Pectorals to the Anterior deltoids and Lateral deltoids due to the shoulders exerting in abduction while externally rotated, rather than transverse flexion. The upper fibres of the trapezius are also involved in elevating the shoulders.
In free-standing handstand pushups, the core muscles and hand muscles are both used to keep the body balanced, from falling over back, forward, or to either side, and to maintain posture. This makes it a much stronger exercise for the wrist flexors, core and legs compared to regular pushups.