The Hip Hinge Forearm Push Up: Bodyweight Leveraging at its Best!

Global Bodyweight Training - Alan Valdez and Mike Fitch hand balancing

The Hip Hinge Forearm Push Up is a great integrated movement for developing your hand balance practice!

The Hip Hinge Forearm Push-Up is another great bodyweight conditioning movement that serves as an awesome exercise by itself, while also preparing your body for more advanced progressions. The human body is an incredible network of levers that act together to create movement in all directions. We can change the leverage at a joint to increase or decrease the difficulty of a given task or movement. In the Hip Hinge Forearm Push Up, we are using the position of the hips to increase the load in the shoulders and elbow extensors (triceps). Our bodies and gravity are our best tools. Give this variation a shot and you’ll see what I mean right away. (See instructional video at end of this post).

Set Up: Corkscrew Rotation

Global Bodyweight Training - Alan Valdez and Mike Fitch hand balancing

Set your scapular with the described “corkscrew” elbow rotation

Beginning in your push up position, we initiate the exercise by first “setting” the scapula. We use a technique called the corkscrew, which is an isometric external rotation of the humerus (upper arm). So if you were in a push up position, you would create tension outward (right hand clockwise, left hand counter clockwise). Since the hands are planted, the movement will show up as the inside of the elbows rotate forward.
This external rotation of the humerus in the shoulder joint not only opens up the anterior capsule of the shoulder, which is good for impingement issues, but also stabilizes the arm connection to the shoulder, as well as the shoulder girdle to the torso.

Flexing and Hinging Movements

Once the body is set and stable, we can begin the actual movement. There are two joint movements that take place simultaneously. The hips hinge or unlock at the same time that the elbows begin to flex. This hinging at the hips pushes load down into the shoulders, which travels down the arm into the elbow and finally continues down into the hand contact with the ground. The elbows will continue to flex, bringing the elbows down towards the ground, shifting the weight from our hands into the forearms. Once the forearms are in complete contact with the ground, the hands should be completely off of the ground.

Global Bodyweight Training - Alan Valdez Tiger Bend

With practice, you can progress to transitioning from a handstand to a forearm stand (and eventually to a Tiger Bend!).

The next phase of the movement is once again a perfect integration of joint activity from the hips, shoulders, elbows and wrists. As we shift our contact back from the forearms to the hands, we will drop the hips back into alignment with the shoulders and heels. The rolling from the forearms to the hands will pop the elbows back up to either side of the torso. It’s important to keep the elbows pulled in tight towards the body. At the bottom position, there should be a straight line from the head down to the ankles. The elbows should be locked in close to the ribcage and we should still create some external isometric force with our corkscrew maneuver. From here, simply push back up to your start position.

Progressions

It’s the roll from the hands down to the forearms, and from the forearms back up to the hands that will have a high carry over to some advanced arm balances. In particular, this movement will help you progress toward performing the impressive tiger bend movement, which requires transitioning between a handstand and a forearm stand.

Remember, getting the most out of your bodyweight training is all about proper progression and variation. Try adding the Hip Hinge Forearm Push Up into your next horizontal pushing workout, the next time you want to blow up those triceps or add it to your forearm balance routine.

And if you are interested in learning more about hand balancing progressions, keep an eye out for our new full-length video on Hand Balancing for the Bodyweight Athlete, to be released this Spring! You can also check out some of our previous tutorials listed below.



Handbalancing is an art that requires lots of practice. Check out some of these other tutorials on hand balancing and related push-up variations as you work on progressing your practice:

 

 

About Mike Fitch

13 Responses to “The Hip Hinge Forearm Push Up: Bodyweight Leveraging at its Best!”

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  1. zekon says:

    Mike,amazing,amazing,amazing…………………………..
    I like it a great deal,it is awesome,tutorials are clear,high quality videos and exercises are perfectly in the step-by-step manner explained into the details and so it is so easy to follow and there is always built-up exercise to continue and just great feeling about it ,too.
    It is much healthier anyway to do just a own body weight training and workout then used the weights and other tools,I bet that most bodybuilders cannot even do those simple but powerful movements with their own body weight:)))))
    Mike is obviously in a great shape and well experienced person and awesome teacher to top it off ,I do recommend these to everyone:))))Big Thanks for your programme,…………………………….wish you lots of more of it:)

    • Mike Fitch says:

      Thanks so much for the kind words! I’ll continue to put up videos, as long as you continue to watch them! Thanks again Zekon

  2. Fantastic exercise idea! Thanks for sharing it, Mike Fitch!

    I believe this corkscrew rotation can be applied to many other exercises, such as the traditional push-up, bodyweight rows, bench presses, bent-over rows, etc.

  3. Rod Henderson says:

    Another great video Mike. Thanks.

  4. James says:

    Interesting stuff Mike, as always. This reminds of the exercise known as the Dive Bomber Push-Up, but with forearm involvement.

    What are your thoughts about getting into the Tiger Bend by kicking up the legs from the ground, instead of going into it from the Handstand?

    Looking forward to the DVD ;-)

    / James

    • Mike Fitch says:

      Yes James, it’s a similar movement. I’m sure if you’ve given the Forearm Push Up a shot, you can feel the difference. Both are great exercises. Thanks for the comment!

  5. joe says:

    Definitely my type of training bodyweight exercises…great videos…just wondering if you still impliment any weight training to get as big as you are and if so…is it olympic lifting?

    • Mike Fitch says:

      Hey Joe, sorry for the late response, i must’ve overlooked your comment. I actually haven’t touched a weight in three years. I only use bodyweight training in my program. I’ve been a trainer for thirteen years so have spent significant time with Olympic lifts and kettle bells as well as every other style of training. Once I started focusing on bodyweight training, I knew that was all I wanted to do!

  6. Outstanding,I useto be ableto do that, I am 45 now what can I do to get back to that level?

    • Mike Fitch says:

      Start working on the flexibility and mobility of your spine, hips, knees and ankles. I would recommend slowly working your way into deep squats, then single leg box squats, lowering the target as you progress. Then you could move to assisted single leg pistols, eventually getting to un assisted pistol negatives (down one leg, up with two). Then attempt to perform your full pistols and finally the walking pistols. Good luck!

  7. Jordan says:

    Wow that is incredibly easy try to get back Into the handstand from a tiger bend

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