How to Get Capped Shoulders With Bodyweight Training

Day 2 of camping right now and again I’m sitting by the campfire writing this post as my kids roast some marshmallows for some S’Mores.

My wife, again, decided to NOT purchase marshmallows from the grocery store and instead, at 2am on Saturday night, made the marshmallows at home from scratch.  What a sticky mess that was.  I have firsthand knowledge of this because I was the one washing dishes at 3am.

Homemade marshmallows, homemade sunscreen & homemade DEET-free insect repellant.

Like I said yesterday…

That’s just how we roll.

Earlier today, as planned, I was able to get a bodyweight training session in at the campground.  Today, my focus exercise – the exercise that is my primary focus for the session – was handstand push-ups.

Each session that I train myself or my clients, I always have ONE exercise that is the nucleus of the workout.  After that, the assistance exercises are all “built around” that one exercise.

The focus exercises are usually ones that involve serious concentration and are multi-joint compound exercises.  Some of these include….

-Double KB Front Squats (with significant weight – 32-36kgs)

-Deadlifts (Snatch Grip, Trap Bar or Conventional)

-Weighted Chin-Ups

-Olympic Lifts

-Military Presses (with either KBs or with a barbell although barbells seem to be aggravating my shoulder lately)

So with handstand push-ups, I focused mainly on PRACTICING the movement by doing multiple sets of 3 reps.

I chose 3 reps because if I went ALL OUT, I could probably do 8-10 reps, so I cut that number to 25% and made sure that I was fresh for each set.

Handstand Push-Ups have been an exercise that I have been working on for almost 2 years now and they're tough.  Especially for a skinny guy with average genetics like me.

With Coach Adam Steer’s new Shape Shifter Bodyweight Program coming out, I asked him to give me some advanced input on how to improve my handstand push-ups.

Get the Shape Shifter Bodyweight Re-Design System <= Click HERE to get 51% OFF

One of the best tips that he gave me was to actively engage my lats as I was pressing to get me out of a sticking point.

In the video below, Coach Steer goes through some instructional cues and tips for handstand push-ups….



After the handstand push-ups, I did a circuit of….

 -Burpee Chin-ups x 10

-Prisoner Squats x 20

-Mountain Climbers x 20

-Opposite Hip Touches x 20

-Burpees x 10

Bodyweight Training is the perfect compliment to working with Kettlebells.  I've been a fan of bodyweight training from the beginning when one of my old PE teachers taught me how to do Pistols in highschool.

From today until Thursday at midnight, my good friend (and fellow Canadian) Bodyweight Coach Adam Steer is offering his brand new Shape Shifter Bodyweight Program at a HUGE 51% discount.

I strongly suggest you check it out and if you're able, pick-up the "Shoulder Plugin Program" as well.

 Get the Shape Shifter Bodyweight Re-Design System <= Click HERE to get 51% OFF

OK, back to camping.  I've got a S'More with a homemade marshmallow in it waiting for me.

Chris Lopez, RKC 


  • Reply June 21, 2011


    Chris –

    My main issue with hanstand pushups is wrist impingment. I can minimize the pain by stretching the forearm flexors – and I do exercises to strengthen the extensors – but is there anything else I’m overlooking that might mitigate the pain ? Wrist wraps ? Anything ?

  • Reply June 22, 2011

    Chris Lopez, RKC

    @Dale – Hi Dale, Great question. I recently have had issues with my wrists as well and the only thing that seems to help them out is to do the push-ups on old-fashioned push-up stands. This keeps your wrist in neutral and minimizes the pain from impingement. If you don’t have stands, then a pair of hex dumbbells will do as well.

  • Reply June 22, 2011


    Thanks, Chris. I may try that. Interestingly, if I do the handstands against the exterior of my house I experience less wrist pain. This is probably because my hands are able to conform to the woodchips that I have around the border of my house, thus less wrist hyperextension.

  • Reply June 30, 2011


    Hi guys,

    Handstand pushups is a great exercise to strengthen your shoulders but also your core. I’m a crossfitter, so we do this all the time.
    I’ve had loads of problems with my right wrist after my days as a kickboxer.
    I had so much problems with my wrist, that I couldn’t do normal pushups.
    I did lots of stretching and exercises to strengthen my wrist, it did help a little bit.
    But what really helped me was kettlebell swings, snatches and barbell cleans.
    Those exercises will strengthen your wrist in a big way and also stretching you wrist during workout(especially barbell cleans). I’m 100% healed and don’t need to warm up to do pushups or handstand.
    I suggest you try it out, if you want to be 100% healed.

    This is a great blog Chris.

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