I just did up a post on CRUSHING grip strength and was going to post it here. But, as I was going to do so I saw an email from Charles Mitchell, a long term customer that I just HAD to reply to! Hehe.
Here is what he asked –
(for reference, this was in response to an email I sent you a day or so ago about giving the impression of being much bigger than you normally ARE!).
And here is what my response was :
Thanks for the email! Yes, if you can do ‘em right and in high reps (I once got to a point where I was pumping out a 100 handstand pushups in proper FORM per workout, but that ain’t easy I’ll tell you! ?) then YES, they are one of the best exercises out there to develop the traps.
Ideally, I’d do them with pull-ups if you can do pull-ups (one exercise helps the other as you know) but to answer your question definitively – YES – they are – but pull-ups are a close, close “trailer” in that regard as well!
Both exercises are super for building the grip and forearms as well (which naturally leads to better performance on exercises, and obviously bigger/stronger trapezius/upper back muscles).
And it’s true, my friend.
Handstand pushups are not only the best exercise to build that “massive upper body” and “barndoor lats/delts” you’ve always wanted, but YES, they ARE probably the best exercise out there for traps as well - - IF, and this is a big IF, you do ‘em right!
Some of the guys I coach one on one have had the same, or similar questions, and I told them the same thing.
Handstand pushups are one of the most difficult exercises you can do my friend, and it takes a while for people to work up to them.
That’s why I have the books out there, of course, but in and as of itself, this one exercise will build a chest that looks like it’s made of granite as well (that “packed chest” look if you get my drift).
And, NO, it isn’t just about looks. Looks to me were but a by product when I worked up to doing 100 HSPU’s (and pull-ups, and hill climbs!) per workout.
The sheer feeling of being “on top of the world” and STRONG - - really STRONG - - from the inside out (yes, they’re a fantastic core movement too my friend!) is really what makes it all worth it.
And last, but not least – remember that pull-ups, as I said, are but a close outlier.
Another solid exercise, and if you do 100 pull-ups and 100 handstand pushups per workout, let me just tell you you’ll be headed to “Strongman” status very soon.
As my friend from the Marines once famously said . . .
“You’re goddamned right!” (when I told him that 100 pull-ups per workout was EASY (for me, at least!) but try doing 100 handstand pushups per workout! ?).
For background on that, check out the 0 Excuses Fitness blog, but the gist is that he was saying 100 pull-ups per workout is tough for anyone.
Not if you work up to it the right way!
I’m currently NOT doing handstand pushups as part of my routine, but I’m doing “extra thick” bar pullups.
I mean REALLY thick!
And that’s what I’m going to write to you about in the next email (I was going to send it to you NOW, but this question from Charles deserves more attention), so here goes!
PS – If you’re interested in building a cast iron grip, then check out the “Evergreen” best seller (along with the 0 Excuses Fitness System) at 0 Excuses Fitness – Gorilla Grip! A course that when I first put out I had NO idea if it would even sell, and now, years later . . . !!!! Amen, as they say! ?
PS #2 – Questions such as these from folks that truly do GET it make my day! Thanks Charles; you truly are an INSPIRATION to everyone out there!
PPS – YES, YOU TOO can send me your questions. My one on one coaching services can be applied for right here if you so choose, but if you have a training related question you’d like answered - - send it my way, and we’ll see what we can do!