For newbies, learning and getting handstand pushups can be a daunting endeavor. Being upside down for most people is a very new thing and when you add having to control your head lowering to the ground, it can be a little frightening.

Fortunately there is equipment out there to soften the impact your head may make with the ground while practicing, and if you keep these three set up ques in mind, you’ll be flying through workouts like Diane in no time.

If you don’t have one already, before you start your HSPU (handstand pushup) journey, you’ll want to get your hands on an Abmat. This is key, as the Abmat will be placed up against the wall and provide padding and a kind of “safety net” for your head while descending to the ground - if you’re advanced and will be trying free HSPU, you’ll also need the Abmat to act as a target.

Step 1: Hand Placement

Just like in any sort of barbell press, the setup of your hands will be highly effective in determining the outcome of your HSPU attempt.

Once you kick up against the wall and are inverted, take a second to make sure you are angled correctly. Most beginners make the mistake of starting with their hands and body almost touching the wall, and as a result fall forward as soon as they try to descend.

From the side, your body should make an angle of somewhere around 70 degrees with the wall, and the only thing touching the wall should be your heels. If you walk your hands out about a foot from the edge of the wall this should happen naturally.

Next, make sure that your hands are neutral with fingertips pointing towards the wall, and that your hands themselves are distanced apart from each other the same way they would be setup for doing a barbell jerk or press. Going too wide or too narrow can result in being unable to recruit the right muscles in the shoulder/arms/back needed to drive out of the bottom of the HSPU.

Step 2: The Decent

Once your hands are set, start your descent down to the Abmat. As long as you set up correctly you should not have any issues.

At the bottom of the HSPU position your butt should be touching the wall.

Your hands should be in front of our head and form a tripod with it. THIS IS KEY!

If your hands either slipped closer to the wall or to far away, take the time at the bottom to adjust them and create a stable base.

Lastly, bring your knees down together to your chest, again as long as you have a strong tripod set up with your hands and head, you should be able to balance here comfortably.

Step 3:. The Accent

The easy part.

Start the kip portion of the HSPU by aggressively extending your legs and hips back and up towards the wall.

Once the hips have extended you will finish by pressing with your arms in the same manner you would with a barbell strict press.

These are not separate movements. They should be fluid, seamless and a very quick.

Depending on your strength as an athlete, you may need to do some accessory work to build up the strength to finish the pressing portion of the HSPU, however if you can do one strict pull-up or even 5 to 10 good push ups, you should be able to complete a full HSPU.

If you’re uncomfortable with descending all the way down to the ground on your first attempt, stack multiple Abmats on top of each other, as you complete reps, take an Abmat off and work to get down to a single!