If you are interested in learning how to perform a kipping handstand push-up you must first learn the tripod position. It is the base of the handstand and will allow you to maintain balance during the violent kip that will ultimately take place.
Think “triangle”. A triangle should be formed by the hands and the head. The hands will make up the base of the triangle and the head the top of the triangle. The triangle should be fairly big. That is, the further your head is away from your hands the better. So many people get this simple idea wrong. If you are having trouble keeping balance it’s probably because your head is too close to your hands.
The kipping handstand push-up requires a violent hip extension, especially once the shoulders start to get tired during high rep workouts. The more you can close your hips the more power you can generate by opening them quickly. Closing them means lowering the knees to the chest as much as possible. Balance can be maintained in this position only if a solid tripod is held.
The first picture demonstrates only half of the hip flexion of the second one. Although it can still be enough to generate the necessary power, being able to pull the knees all the way down to the chest will be the most efficient.
How to tripod?
The tri-pod can be difficult to learn at first, which is why I recommend learning it completely separate from the HSPU.
First, start by placing your hands and head on the floor in an ideal tripod position. Next, slowly shift all of your weight onto your hands and the top of your head until your feet leave the ground. Rest your knees on your elbows. Get comfortable here before moving on.
Next, see if you can bring your knees from sitting on your elbows to touching each other in between your elbows.
Finally, slowly extend your legs until they are locked out overhead. Make sure that your legs aren’t in a completely vertical position. If they are straight up and down too much pressure will be placed on your head and you’ll likely flip backwards. Instead, your feet should remain over your hands (legs still locked out).
If balancing in that final position is solid, practice raising and lowering your legs from the tripod for several reps.
The TriPod and the Handstand Push-up
Here’s where it becomes relevant to CrossFit. When performing kipping handstand push-ups against a wall you’ll need to be able to balance on your head and hands in the bottom position. This will allow you to lower your knees to your chest before launching your legs back into the air, all while pressing. No need to worry about balancing at the top. That’s what the wall is for.