Join the tribe of Movement & Calisthenics Athletespeople just like you that are working with their own body weight to get strength, lose fat build muscle, recover from injuries and live their best lives!


Negative handstand pushup is an essential step that conditions your body for the freestanding handstand pushups. This progression prepares your strength, balance and technique aspect to fully achieve the freestanding version. 

Since we’ll only focus on the eccentric part (negative or lowering down motion) of the exercise, it’s vital to increase the time under tension by using slow tempos for the exercise. This provides enough volume and difficulty in order for the muscles to grow. 

The exercise is also done against the wall to eliminate first the balance aspect of the exercise. This will allow you to focus on the correct technique and positioning before integrating balance in the equation. The wall will also guide you for safety purposes.

Master the negative handstand pushups then you’ll be so close to learning the full complete move.


Before you attempt negative handstand push-ups, be sure that you are already comfortable doing elevated pike push-ups. You should also have at least wall handstands with proper form before proceeding with the progression.

✅Summarized Benefits

  1. Prepares you for free-standing handstand push-ups
  2. Builds lean muscles through enough stimulation and overload
  3. Strengthen your triceps, shoulders, and chest
  4. Develops control with stabilizer muscles 
  5. Teaches proper technique and form for free-standing handstands
  6. Assist in balance and coordination
  7. Avoids injuries from falling while balance component is not yet mastered

How to Perform💪

1.  Start arm width away from the wall or where you feel most comfortable kicking up to handstand.

  1. Place hands on the ground with mat located at head position. Ensure that your hand placement is approximately 6-12 inches away from the wall and your midline/core is in a tight, stable position. 
  2. Lock your elbows and kick up/tuck into handstand and place feet on the wall
  3. Slowly descend towards the mat by bending your elbows and maintaining full-body tension. Make sure to control the descent throughout the entire movement. The tempo should be the same from the start of the negative to the end of the negative.
  4. As soon as your head touches the mat you should be kicking quickly off the wall before any weight is applied to the head and neck. You should not be finishing in a headstand position. 
  5. Lower your legs and get back on your feet to standing position and reset.

Coaching Pointers

Starting Position:

Hands 6-12 inches away from the wall

Tight core

Feet on the wall

Locked elbows

Movement Position:

Slowly descend towards the mat

Maintain hollow body position

Full-body tension

Tuck your chin

Finish Position:

Head touches the mat

Don’t put weight on your head

Continue pressing through the floor

with your palms 

Kick quickly off the wall


👉Keep in mind

  1. Negative handstand pushup focuses on body control. It’s important to completely flex the whole body while doing the movement. Remain under tension even if you’re just holding the top stable handstand.
  2. Your main focus as you work sets of negative handstand pushups is lowering as slowly as possible to build strength and your body position–both starting and finishing. When lowering down, aim for 3-8 seconds of descent. This gives allows you to get stronger while you still can’t do the other half of the exercise.
  3.  As you kick up, be sure that your heels are on the wall and that your rear is away from the wall. 
  4.  Maintaining hollow position. You are squeezing your legs, glutes, and core and keeping a neutral spine.  If you were standing up or hanging from a bar, you would be in a strong hollow body position.  
  5. Tuck your chin. Be sure also to tuck your chin to your chest as you lower to protect your neck from the pressure of having your head on the mat.  Additionally, don’t rely on your head to hold your body weight, but be sure to continue pressing through the floor with your palms to take the pressure off your neck.
  6. Aim for 5 negatives when starting out. As you get stronger, set your goal to a higher number such as 12- 15 consecutive negatives. You can first keep doing 5 reps but making slower and slower each training session. Aim for the slowest movement you can go.