Breaking Down the Headstand or Handstand Push Up, Part 1: The Basics
The first step towards becoming proficient at any skill is understanding what it takes to get there. Achieving proficiency requires practice and repetition. If you don’t have time to do both things then you’re not going to become good enough. So let’s start with some basics…
What Is a Pile Driver?
A pile driver is a type of exercise where you perform a series of movements in rapid succession. For example, you might do a series of pushups while driving your hands into the ground until they are parallel to the floor. Or you could do a series of pullups while driving your arms straight out behind your back until they are perpendicular to the floor. You drive yourself through each movement and hold them for as long as possible before stopping.
Why Do They Work?
Pile drivers work because they force you to use all of your body weight and strength. When you are using all of your energy during a set of pushups, pullups, or other exercises like these, you are actually strengthening those muscle groups that will be used in the future when performing the same movements without using so much energy. Also, if you are able to move heavy weights around easily then chances are that you’ll be able to lift heavier objects as well.
One of the reasons why boxers and other combat athletes use this method is because it helps to increase their speed. The more energy you use during a pushup, for example, the faster you will be able to move your arms when you are throwing a punch. You might think that throwing a punch is very different from a pushup but in both situations you are using your arms and upper body in order to propel your body forward. The faster you can push your arms the faster your body will move.
How Do I Do a Pile Driver?
A pile driver is a set of exercises that is repeated as quickly as possible for a given number of reps or a given time period. In most cases, these exercises should be performed with little to no breaks in between in order to get the most out of it.
The first part of a typical pile driver workout is done by performing one static exercise. These are holds that you hold in a given position for as long as possible. These can be pushups, pullups, crunches, or anything else that requires you to hold your body in a given position. Once you are able to do 10-15 reps of these then it’s time to move on to the next phase.
The next phase is one or more dynamic exercises. These are exercises where you move your arms or legs in and out of a given position like jumping jacks, mountain climber rotations, pushups, or anything that gets your heart rate up. Once you are unable to perform any more reps of these then it’s back to holding a static position for as long as possible.
You will continue to repeat this cycle until you have performed the desired number of reps for each position.
What Exercises Can I Do?
There are a lot of exercises that can be used in a pile driver. You can mix and match these in order to make the routine more difficult as you get stronger.
This one is probably the most common exercise when it comes to pile drivers. If you can’t do normal pushups then you can do a version called “girl” or “modified” pushups where you put your knees on the ground. Once you are strong enough you can put your feet up against a wall in order to give yourself something to push off of.
Another common exercise is the pullup. If you can’t do a normal one then you can try the same modifications as with pushups by either putting your knees on the ground or putting your feet up against a wall.
These can also be done using the same modifications as the previous exercises. If you’re able to put your feet against a wall then it makes the exercise a little easier as well since you have something to push off of.
These are a good dynamic exercise that can be used in order to continue the pile driver. You might have to slow down the speed which you perform these in order to complete the required number of reps though.
Mountain Climber Rotations
These are another good dynamic exercise that can be used to continue the pile driver. The same rules apply here as with the jumping jacks as far as slowing down the speed in order to complete the required number of reps.
You can mix these in with the other exercises in order to increase the difficulty. Again, perform these as either “girl” or “modified” pushups in order to get your reps up. As you get stronger, increase the difficulty by putting your feet against a wall in order to get more leverage. When you are able to do regular pushups then put your feet up against a wall while tensing your ab muscles in order to get even more of a workout.
These are a great upper body exercise that can be used to increase difficulty or just to give yourself a change. As with the pushups, you can put your feet against a wall in order to get more leverage. When you are able to do these with your legs straight then put your feet against a wall and tense your ab muscles in order to get even more of a workout.
Ah, the old standby for ab training. You can either do these normally, or you can put your feet against a wall (or anything else that you can brace your feet on) in order to bring your knees up to your chest. This takes a little of the strain off of your lower back and allows you to do more reps.
These are more of a dynamic exercise than a static one and are good for keeping your heart rate up between positions. As with the mountain climbers, you can slow down your pace in order to complete the required number of reps.
As you can see, there are a lot of exercises that you can use for this routine. You can pick and choose which ones you want to use in order to get the most out of your workout time.
There are many other routines out there but this is one of the better ones. You can always modify it yourself as well in order to accommodate your own weaknesses and strenghten those areas.
Also, as you get stronger you may find that some of the exercises are too easy for you. This is normal and to be expected. As you grow stronger you will have to continually change the intensity of your routines in order to continue making progress.
The most important thing is to keep at it.
Sources & references used in this article:
Learning the” Banana Tree’: Self-Modification Through Movement by G Downey – Redrawing anthropology: Materials, movements …, 2011 – books.google.com
Contraindications of yoga by M Carrico – Injury Prevention for Fitness Instructors, 2001 – books.google.com
PE 352 UNIT PLAN: GYMNASTICS by E Calver, L Appel, R Deutsch – uvic.ca