It seems that everyone who wants to lose weight is searching for the key, the one thing that will make the fat melt off like cheese off a Philly cheese steak. Hmmm… maybe that’s not the best analogy. But there isn’t any one exercise or food or even activity that will make fat vanish. Hard work and proper diet will make it disappear faster. But there is one bodyweight exercise that will put your mind in a state that demands that you lose weight. And that exercise is the handstand pushup.
Now, the handstand pushup by itself is not enough. You need a well-planned fitness routine that fits your life and schedule (so that you will have the incentive and time to actually do it) and a diet that you can really follow. I, for example, have never tried to figure out if a piece of chicken is the size of a deck of cards. But I have reduced fried foods and late night snacks, and have lost weight quickly when I made those simple changes.
Okay, back to the handstand pushup. The exercise itself is simple: do a handstand. Push. You can only go “up.” Well, you could go “over” if you lose your balance. That’s why many people do their handstand pushups with their feet against a wall. If you are going to do this, wear socks. And don’t use the same wall every time, unless you like explaining to your friends why you have “wear marks” on your wall right about head high.
The handstand pushup is one of those exercises that hits many more muscle groups than the obvious. The shoulder muscle group will become herculean strong after you consistently perform these. Your pectoralis (chest) muscles, biceps and triceps, and trapezius muscles likewise will pop and explode right before your eyes! Surprisingly, your stomach muscles get a trmendous workout, by virtue of tightening your core to maintain your balance and your breathing in this awkward position.
What if you can’t do a handstand pushup? There are usually 2 problems: you can get into a handstand but can’t push UP; and, you can’t get into a handstand. For the first problem, the solution is to get into a handstand and push. You won’t go UP – but you are strengthening every muscle necessary to achieve the UP. For the second problem, try “jacknife pushups”: get into a regular pushup position on the floor, and walk your hands back toward your feet, keeping your legs straight and raising your rear end up higher and higher. When you pretty much look like a triangle, start cranking out the pushups. This will strengthen your shoulder and arm muscles necessary to eventually do a handstand pushup. or 2 or 30.
Now, why did I say way up above that the handstand pushup puts your mind in a state that demands that you lose weight? Because handstand pushups when you are FAT are unbelievably annoying! They hurt. They are hard. It’s difficult to keep your balance. Handstand pushups really really bring home how much overweight you really are. And how much easier the handstand pushups will be if you lose weight. And your mind starts telling you, “Lose weight, so those stupid handstand pushups aren’t such an annoying pain!” And you lose a few pounds, and the pushup becomes a little more tolerable. So you lose some more, and suddenly you aren’t falling out of your handstand all the time. And now you are in a state of mind to lose weight.
Adding handstand pushups to your fitness routine will really help you both body and mind. Besides the effect on your shoulders, the improvement in your balance will help your posture and your gait. And the subtle shift from “I want to lose weight” to “I need to lose weight” that this exercise creates in your subconscious will help focus your diet and weightloss efforts.