Upper Body Strength Program

Pull-ups, Pushups, and Handstand Pushups


Many athletes are dominant in either lower body or upper body strength. The best athletes train their weaknesses to develop a balance between upper and lower body strength and skills. The following program was designed to increase upper body strength with a focus on imporving (or getting) strict pullups and handstand pushups. 


To get started, choose your level:

Beginners - Athletes who want to gain the strength to do a strict pull-up or pushup on toes.

Intermediate - Athletes who have are close to 1 pull-up or toe pushup, and looking to become proficient at those movements.

Advanced - Athletes who can do 2+ strict pull-ups and 5+ toe pushups, are working on more, and looking to build strength for handstand pushups.


Week 1 - Find your baseline
These numbers will be re-tested at the end of the program to see your progress. 

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Weeks 2-4 
This is the base program that the following weeks will build upon. Repeat this cycle for 3 weeks in a row, increasing difficulty weekly.

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Weeks 5-7
This cycle builds upon the previous. During this cycle you may be able to start removing modifications! Complete this cycle for 3 weeks in a row increasing difficulty each week.Screen Shot 2017 12 16 at 11.48.29 AM



Weeks 8-10
Don't be surprised if things start feeling easier by this point, you may even get your first strict pull-up or handstand pushup. Complete this cycle for 3 weeks in a row increasing difficulty weekly.

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Week 11:
ReTest! Time to see your progress!

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Once you have completed the full program and can complete 6 or more strict pullups and handstand pushups then you are ready to start connecting the movements for higher reps, check out our Connecting Kipping Pullups and Handstand Pushup Volume Programs to get you started! 

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About the Author

Stephanie McCarthy

Stephanie McCarthy

Stephanie's career in fitness started almost a decade ago after graduating with a degree in Applied Physiology and Kinesiology from the University of Florida. Over the years she's gained invaluable experience as a business owner and dedicated coach to hundreds of athletes. CrossFit has given her the opportunity to compete with incredible athletes around the country at the Regional and Games level.


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