The tripod position is critical for a few reasons. First is for finding a stable balance point and being able to make subtle adjustments as needed. With a proper tripod an athlete can distribute the weight equally from hands and head so each body part in contact with the ground is holding 1/3 of the weight. This tripod position will also allow an athlete to work towards higher level movements such as a technically sound strict freestanding HSPU, a freestanding shoulderstand, deficit HSPU, and eventually even a strict ring HSPU.
When it comes to working towards freestanding handstand push ups, the tripod position is key. Even if a freestanding HSPU is not in your foreseeable future, it is important to understand why it should be the goal to train towards this technique. Dave Durante breaks it down for us:"Tripod Position: slowing things down like this gives a great sense of how far forward the head needs to go to find the correct balance point in the headstand. It’s much further than you think when first trying to implement the tripod. From a technical standpoint, the tripod shape needed for a correct freestanding HSPU as well as higher level versions of this movement. To truly find stabilization, the body won't be completely vertical when on 3 points (hand-hand-head). The angle gives we equal weight distribution on all 3 points.
One of the things you will feel when doing a proper tripod is a much heavier activation of the triceps. Most athletes don't recognize the importance of the triceps in the tripod and eventual HSPU, but they are critical for proper movement and need to be activated at a higher level. The tripod is the starting point to help understand how the arms need to be placed and what it feels like to get the triceps more involved.