What is the calisthenics opposite equivalent of the 1 Hand Pullup?

Is the 1 Handstand Pushup even possible against the wall? I also tried 2 handstand pushup, placing weights on a dipbelt (only like 20 pounds), its not very comfortable so I stopped

1 Hand Pullup

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1 Handstand Pushup

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  • I don't think "opposite" is clearly defined. You're probably thinking "some one-handed overhead push", but you're overlooking the fact that a one-arm handstand pushup is far more unbalanced than a pullup, where gravity stabilizes you. So the question is, what's the motivation behind the question? What are you trying to achieve?
    – Alec
    Jan 9, 2022 at 0:57
  • hi @Alec just trying to reach strength based training on antagonist muscle group movements, pull ups is more biceps-back, handstand pushup is more triceps-shoulder, etc
    – mattsmith5
    Jan 9, 2022 at 1:35
  • Fair enough. But why go to handstand pushups? Any overhead press will train the antagonists to a pull up. I get that you're framing this from a calisthenics perspective, so handstand pushups make sense in that regard, but I'm not sure I see why you'd want to do them one-handed.
    – Alec
    Jan 9, 2022 at 2:18
  • well, calisthenics tends to really work wrists and fingers, also there is natural movement in the shoulder shrug trapezius muscle, with it being projected upwards in the pullup, and it be projected down on the handstand pushup @Alec , I just like calisthenics also, more preference, natural and feels in tune
    – mattsmith5
    Jan 9, 2022 at 3:01
  • 1
    Interesting video that goes into depth onto why this guy doesn't think it is possible. There have been a couple videos of people using walls to leverage off of, and a movement that uses momentum to achieve dirty versions of the movement. Nobody in the world has achieved a clean handstand press, even against the wall yet. Jan 11, 2022 at 21:17

1 Answer 1


A case against one-arm handstand pushups

I would definitely discourage even thinking about a one-arm handstand pushup as something that goes along with a one-arm pullup. It's not on the same level. Not even close.

As a climber, the one-arm pullup is a staple. It's not the case that every climber can do it, but it's a common "feat of strength" that a lot of intermediate climbers train for as a side goal.

A one-arm handstand pushups is... well, I've never seen one. I can't even imagine it. Balancing on one arm is hard enough for even a seasoned gymnast, but then you bend it? I don't understand how you're supposed to maintain balance there.

I understand the idea of trying to match the one-arm pullup with its antagonist, and landing on the one-arm handstand pushup. From the perspective of "opposite muscles" it makes sense, but these are wildly different in intensity. Pulling your bodyweight is much easier than pressing it overhead.

I would say that the one-arm pullup is only slightly more advanced than a regular handstand pushup.

A case for regular handstand pushups (at some point)

All this is why overhead pressing should start at low-to-moderate weights, and increase slowly. Shoulders are weak by default, and shouldn't be subjected to your bodyweight as soon as you want to train shoulders.

I know you're trying to get at this calisthenically. Normally, I'd insist on dumbbells so you can increase the load as you progress, but in this case, I would recommend that you do pushups, but with your feet on increasingly high platforms. This will allow your shoulders and wrists to ease into the load of a handstand pushup via progressive overloading.

You could mix it with assisted handstand pushups. Rubber bands for instance. I'm having trouble coming up with how you'd attach to the bands, but I'm sure it's possible.

  • You can ease into overhead a bit faster by doing pike pushups instead of regular pushups. It's the same progression of the legs getting higher (and the pike being less defined), but it starts out working with overhead movement at low bodyweight rather than starting more laterally.
    – Sean Duggan
    Jan 10, 2022 at 12:04

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