5/20/15 WOD: Pike Push-ups, breathing ladders, burning out your hand grip

Today’s workout is more of a conditioning variety, but incorporates heavy weights.

Volume: Partner Up and spend 10min practicing freestanding handstands.

EMOM: 10min
2-4 HSPUs

Conditioning: KB Swing Breathing Ladder (Any Style, 32/24)

ascending ladder with only 2 breaths between each set; 1 swing, 2 breath, 2 swings, 2 breaths, 3 swings, 2 breaths, 4 swings, 2 breaths, 5 swings, 2 breaths…etc…you HAVE TO attempt the next set when breaths are done – if you complete it, go on, if fail, stop the ladder; it is for control, not speed)
rest 2.5 min –
Tabata ABmat Situps Anchored
rest 2.5 min –
5min AMRAP; Farmer’s Walk; 30m = 1 rep


The handstand pushup (HSPU) presents a unique challenge for a para-athlete who lacks the hip and quad control to get vertical in an inverted position. You can solve it in one of two ways. Either get someone to hold your legs vertical so you can focus primarily on the HSPU, or scale it into something called a pike pushup.

However, even the pike position may prove to be problematic if you cannot keep your knees locked out. To solve this problem, we incorporated a box on which I lay face down, and when it came time to do the pushup, slid forward until my torso was off the box and I was in a close approximation of the pike position.


From this position, lower yourself in as vertical a form as possible into the pike form:


This is the first time we’ve attempted this adaptation so positioning will still need to be experimented with, but the motion looks something like this:

This portion of the workout was an EMOM, or every minute on the minute. At the top of each minute, I focused on getting 5-7 reps for 10 minutes total.

Conditioning Adaptation

KB Swing Breathing Ladder = 2 light KB, one in each hand, instead of the American style KB swing (ladder)

Abmat situp = medicine ball crunch(14lbs) (tabata)

Farmer’s carry = static hang  (hold, rest, hold)


Many thanks to Joe “3/4 Mountain” Villegas for his training and photography.

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