Yesterday, I shared Emil’s story of the long time it took him to achieve handstand pushups (HSPU).
I echoed that my journey to my first ever HSPU took about the same amount of time.
Emil also asked this question:
“Do you think I should try to build to extended ROM before I learn free standing HSPU?”
It really depends on what your goals are. I wouldn’t say there is an overall “should”.
That being said, I will say that free standing does take more strength than against the wall. (Even if you’re not leaning much, the wall is supporting some of your body weight and the angle of the push changes to some degree making it harder.)
So I would say it is good to be able to do a set of at least 8 or 10 against the wall before really going for freestanding.
Because there is so much skill in balancing involved with freestanding you want to be able to practice and not just be fatigued after a couple of attempts.
I say this from personal experience in making this mistake. I remember striving for a frogstand press to handstand too early. The foundation of strength wasn’t quite there. I would make a couple attempts and be finished.
So if building up ROM against the wall helps to build more total reps then that is likely the better path at least for a while.
But you can also just focus on building up the reps without increasing the range of motion.
If you really want to do freestanding I would recommend two things.
First of all, continue working on HSPUs against the wall. At the very least do one session per week where you’re still aiming to progress with the reps you do.
Secondly, just like the limited range of motion is the key to achieving an HSPU against the wall, the same method is ideal for practicing freestanding HSPU. This allows you to practice more of the balance involved, without using all your strength right away.
All this involves many important things that are described in far more detail inside The Ultimate Guide to Handstand Pushups.