15.4 – “Clean up” your Handstand Push-Ups

15.4 – “Clean up” your Handstand Push-Ups

By on Mar 20, 2015 in Exercise | 0 comments


What you need to know:

  • Go by feel, not tactic;
  • Never go to failure in Handstand Push-Up;
  • Keep your rest at a minimum;
  • Do Power Cleans;
  • Stay focussed;
  • Don’t make a Josh Bridges;
  • Keep a “tracker” in the corner.

Wow. This one really shocked me.

When Castro announce that there would be a scaled division in the Open, I knew that would be some changes and my guess where that the workouts would start with some more skilled movements in the RX division then usually.

My first guesses came true last week, I thought that they would make a workout, where instead of finishing with a muscle-up you would have to start with one, which by the way I truly hope that you did get your first muscle-up, or even your second to.

I wasn’t prepared for this that he, Dave Castro, would add another skilled movement to The Open. But he did, so lets talk about 15.4.

I really like this workout. I might even love this on. It is one of those workouts that I think that most people would enjoy to do.

It would not give you the same horrible feeling as workouts like Fran, Grace etc. would do. Instead it demands that you are focussed all the way thru or else you will get a technical breakdown which in the end would mean, that you are getting a “no rep”, and nobody wants a “no rep”.

Let see, what does 15.4 has to offer to you:


As you can see it only consist of two movements, Handstand Push-Up and Cleans.

My first advice, and maybe my best advice to thise workout: DO NOT, make a Josh Bridges. By that, I mean do not try to make strict handstand push-ups.

Be smart, take your time and make some beautiful kipping push-ups. It will help you in the end. This is only a 8 minute workout, and to be honest I think that you should forget all about tactics. No need to make a master plan before this workout. Its a sprint.

You should go by feel. By feel, I mean that you should do as many handstand push-ups as possible every time, but always feel like you have 2-3 HSPU left in the tank. That way, your body is recovering faster and therefor you can keep the rest at a minimum while still maintaining a good pace.


I’m not going to talk so much about the clean, as most people can make a good clean. For some, the weight in this workout can be heavy.

If you think that the weight is heavy, then do singles and preferably, what some may refer to, as a squat clean. But if you can then do power cleans, they are faster and allows you to keep a higher pace. Remember, this is only a 8 minute workout and most of you, are going to need the rest over at the handstand push-up.

I’m going to steal an good advice from Nicole Carrol, as she said, the rep scheme is a little bit tricky in this workout, so have someone in your corner tracking your reps and telling you what to do next. Your should only be focussing on making some good reps as fast as possible.


For those of you, who don’t know how to perform a kipping handstand push-up, here is a little guide for you:

1.To perform a handstand push-up your foundation has to be good: So place your hands on the ground and the put your head on the ground to. Your two hands and head should form a triangle where the head is the top of the triangle. Your hands should be a little wider than shoulder’s width and your forearms should be vertical. Now you should have a good foundation for your handstand push-up.

2. Now kick up against the wall, so that you now are standing up side down. From here, you take your knees slowly down to your elbows while trying to maintain as flat of a back as possible, as it should only be you butt, which isn’t in touch with the wall by now.

3. You are now standing in a good position, to make an explosive movement (the kip). Now, simultaneously, drive your hips thru the ceilings as explosive as possible while you are pushing into a handstand. If you did it well enough, you should now be standing up side down, just like in before. While pushing your self into a handstand, remember to keep your head neutral and drive your head thru your arms to ensure a full lockout.

4. Repeat previous, until finish with your set of handstand push-up.


As you begin to master the kipping handstand push-up, you will find out that you can begin to shorten the length of your kip, which means that you don’t always has to bring your knees all the way down to your elbows.

But have fun, and play around with the handstand push-up. It is a great and fun movement to master.


  Morten Hannesbo
  Coach @ Box CrossFit Aalborg 

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