I was lucky enough to attend the CrossFit Games as a spectator back in 2009, the last year that it was held in Aromas. It was basically the Woodstock of Fitness back then, this was the first 'really big' year, with spectators in the thousands, and they had stepped things up a notch by having rubber instead of dirt to lift on, so things were getting very professional....
Of course in the 4 years of Games since then, we've come an incredibly long way, not only with the venue, the sponsorship, the spectator experience, and the process of qualifying for the Games, but with both the incredible physical feats demanded from the athletes, and the incredible physical specimens the athletes themselves have become in order to achieve said feats.
Weights are getting heavier, the skills are tougher, events more plentiful and the days longer.
However, with one particular exercise, it hasn't gotten tougher at all, it's become much easier; in fact you could say it's almost devolved somewhat.
I'm talking about the Handstand Pushup.
In 2009, it was performed strict. On PARALLETTES, to a DEFICIT!!
Guys and girls did the same as well, although the ladies not quite as low. It was incredibly tough. Since then we had ring HSPU from a headstand in 2010, but because you could use the straps for assistance from the legs it wasn't really the same. Lots of people still found them tough though.
Since then it's been kipping HSPU. Maybe 5% of top athletes still choose to do them strict when given the option, because almost without exception, kipping is faster (not in THIS case though...amazing performance!!)
The thing is though, that besides moving faster, kipping pullups don't offer the same benefits that strict do.
Strict HSPU will build more pressing strength, increase shoulder stability, develop more midline stability and reinforce full body tension at a far superior rate compared to kipping reps.
Besides the speed factor, and the athleticism needed to learn and perform the movement, the kipping HSPU offers no other advantage. And it presents one big disadvantage.
Your poor neck is not designed as a chair to rest on!
You should NOT be hanging out in the bottom position with your entire body weight on your head and neck. If you can't maintain some pressure with the arms, then it means you aren't really strong enough for the movement. Those delicate cervical vertebrae were really not designed for what happens when you decide to dive bomb down onto the floor (or even an abmat), then roll partly onto your forehead, and then hang out there for a rest! Trust me, your shoulders and lungs maybe resting, but your spine is screaming for mercy.......
Just like our encouragement to achieve a dead hang pull-up before kipping, we really want to see you working on strict HSPU rather than relying on a huge kip to complete the movement.
Now this advice is coming from a guy who LOVES his kipping HSPU, but I know the work done on strict reps will not only make my kipping reps stronger, but I'll be ready for when the strict parallette HSPU gets back into fashion.....it's coming
Hang Power Clean + Hang Squat Clean + Power Clean
E90s for 7 sets, @ 70-80% of 1RM Power Clean
Power Clean 60/40kg
HSPU (yes, kipping, but ask yourself if you're strong enough.....)
AMRAP in 10mins
Hang Power Clean
3 x 3
3 x 1.1.1
21-15-9-6-3 reps of;
DB Power clean