90 degree pike pushup


Level 6 Valued Member
Hello everyone,

I was playing around with the 90 degree pike pushup lately to build strength for handstand pushups. The idea is to have an 90 degree angle in the hips, the hips over the shoulders and then replicating the movement pattern of a freestanding handstand pushup.
I noticed you can increase the difficulty of the exercise by making a conscious effort to eliminate "feet assistance" i.e. only using the bar to rest the feet on while not pushing into the bar on the way up.

Any suggestions and critique is highy appreciated.


Steve Freides

Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor

The Anytime, Anywhere Bodyweight-Only Strength Program | StrongFirst

See the video on the pike pushup.


I haven't seen anyone else do these with their feet draped over a bar - that changes the dynamics since, with the bar right at the ankle, you can pull yourself up in a way that you couldn't if your toes were the point of contact - I'd find a flat surface, parallel to the floor, of a suitable height, and use your feet like you see Aleks using them in his video.

Notice also the range of motion is extended to make it more difficult. I don't think you'll help your cause by trying _not_ to use the assistance your feet and legs can give you - Aleks' idea of increasing the ROM to increase the difficulty is better, IMHO.



Level 8 Valued Member

I am far from an expert regarding the HSPU, but IMHO, getting the upside down position against the wall and then progressively increasing the ROM may be a good strategy because:
- Like the 90° version, it will build the necessary strength to eventually perform the move
- It makes you used to the upside down position
- The feeling of the wall can teach you how to get a proper straight stance (engaging glutes and abs)

In terms of programming, it can be done with a light / medium / heavy, by varying both the ROM and the volume (going from only a few reps with partial ROM, to "a lot of reps" with our maximal ROM).

For instance, a ROP programming style can get the job done.

Kind regards,



Level 6 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Hey there Marc,

First of all, I'm glad to see you're enjoying the souped-up pike pushup! Those are a favorite of mine.

My comments on your form would be that you've got really exceptional form; many people don't have that level of flexibility in their hips, hamstrings, and shoulders, so good on ya. One thing you might consider trying would be to bring the handles forward just a little bit more. As it looks right now, you're not as "stacked" as you could be, and that might make a difference.

I agree with Steve about working on increasing the range of motion a bit if you can. Whether it's a flat surface or simply raising your handles up onto an elevation of some sort, you might find you get a lot out of that. As regards the assistance of the feet, provided it's not excessive, a little bit can be useful (just so long as it's not turning into an isometric quad drill).

Pet' makes a good point about using handstand pushups. I think the best possible approach would be:

a) doing chest-to-wall handstand pushups for lower reps (1-5) and
b) doing souped-up pike pushups for moderate reps (6-12), either on separate days or as backoff sets.

Keep me posted on how you do!
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