I am proud to announce the results of this 3-month-long nerdy and grand experiment! If you haven’t read the earlier parts, please do so as they are chock full of info!
Part 1: I set the stage for the plan to do decline pike pushups nearly everday for 6 weeks with the goal of 9 reps specifically. (Plus much more details like % intensity at different heights, 1-RM calculations and more).
Part 2: I share the results and experience of those 6 weeks in great detail. I was “able” to do 1 handstand pushup but with unacceptable form: back arching to the max with feet floundering uncontrollably. (It made for a great video!)
I clearly needed to keep getting stronger, so I continued with a new cycle of pike pushups with the feet elevated even higher and this blog post is all about this part of the journey…
The new goal was to achieve at least 7 reps of these:
With the hips elevated to hip height, these are about 83% of the bodyweight load. And according to the 1RM calculator table, at 83% intensity, one might be able to perform a single HSPU (100% intensity) if they can do at least 7reps.
These pike pushups at hip height felt extremely difficult.
They are only supposed to be 7% harder than the previous setup (feet elevated to knee height) but they were way harder experientally. Every step of the way was a struggle. Just achieving 6 reps alone was a big deal. I remember being elated that day. Then when it came to achieving 7 reps, it was a real doozy! I had to repeat the previous days rep-scheme many times to consider it conquered. It took some perseverance to hit two sets of 7 reps to seal the deal!
Onto the Results!
Recap of the two cycles:
Coincidentally, each cycle was exactly 6 weeks long and I did them nearly everyday.
Pike Pushups with Feet Elevated to Knee Height
- October 22, 2018: 4, 3, 2, 1, 1 reps (11 reps in a session)
- December 7, 2018: 9, 8, 7, 6, 5 reps (35 reps in a session)
- 6 weeks to go from 11 reps to 35 reps with 76% intensity.
Pike Pushups with Feet Elevated to Hip Height
- January 4, 2019: 4, 3, 3, 2, 1 reps (13 reps in a session)
- February 15, 2019: 7, 7, 6, 5, 4 reps (29 reps in a session)
- 6 weeks to go from 13 to 29 reps with 83% intensity.
Okay, so I hit my goal of 7 reps of decline pike pushups with feet elevated to hip height… could I do a proper handstand pushup yet?!
The answer is a resounding YES, YES, YES. Clearly, Medax’s licks were anabolic.
The form is very far from perfect. In fact, I consider it poor. My back is arched but at least it isn’t TERRIBLE like my previous attempts. And before this, in the previous cycle, when I tried 1 rep, I couldn’t muster up another. But yesterday, I did FOUR of these single reps. And today I did another 4 sets of singles!
Some musings on my newfound strength: The friction of the socks against the wall make it very difficult and keeping both feet pointed is a true challenge that actually makes it quite hard. I also learned that my hands were originally way too close to the wall and doing it slightly further away is perfect. The arching of the back, will get better with time as my pushing strength improves.
I feel really good about having this new shape to work on. Now my new goal is to do 5 reps of these in a row with perfect form. This will probably take a while.
So what’s next?
Well, as a result of this, I learned what it takes to do proper pike pushups perfectly! They are actually quite technically and very intricate to do consistently well. But lucky for you, I’ve been amassing all these tips for the next blog post so you can know you’re doing them right! Stay tuned and thanks for reading!