Pushup Variations for Bodyweight training
What is the basic pushup
1. Keep your self stiff and tight – including your abs.
2. Elbows at a forty five degree angle at the sides of your body.
3. Take a breath as you lower your chest to the floor.
4. Exhale as you press up.
Ready to knock a few other options (Image is at the bottom of the page)
1. Yoga push-up
1. Start in the standard push-up position, hands about shoulder-width apart.
2. Push up, fully extending your arms, and raise your butt, forming a 90-degree angle at your waist.
3. Return to the starting push-up position.
4. Exhale and slowly lower yourself into the down position of a typical push-up so that your elbows are at a 90-degree angle and your chest is hovering just above the floor. Hold for 10 to 60 seconds while continuing to breathe.
5. Lower to the floor or return up.
Benefit: Taps the core and works stabilization muscles as it robs the standard push-up of its momentum by holding in place. Great for increasing flexibility throughout the body and elongating the spine.
2. Atlas push-up
Atlas I: With your feet on the ground, place each hand on separate chair seats, or other raised platforms, so that your body can dip down in between.
Atlas II: Feet on one chair, hands on two chairs (shown).
Atlas III: Hands on the ground, feet on a chair or elevated at least 10 inches above your hands.
Benefit: Sculpts, strengthens and enhances range of motion. The deeper dipping also stretches the pecs while building lung capacity and endurance.
3. Full planche
1. Lie flat on your stomach, toes to the ground.
2. Place your hands, palms down, near your waist, fingers pointing toward your toes.
3. While keeping your core tight, push your body completely off the ground, forming a slight arc.
4. Lower down.
Benefit: This is the “ultimate push-up,” says author Mark Lauren, because it works everything from your traps to your glutes. “You can do this exercise, staying just in the one- to 12-rep range, and be continuously challenged by it for years.”
4. Gecko push-up
1. Begin in a standard push-up position. In one fluid motion:
2. Tilt your head to the left as you lower down, while bringing your left knee up to your left elbow.
3. Return your leg to the original position as you push back up.
4. Repeat on the other side.
Benefit: Core conditioner and cardio killer.
5. Panda push-up
1. Begin in the standard push-up position. In one fluid motion:
2. As you lower down, tuck your left elbow in and roll onto your left side.
3. Immediately roll back into the start position.
4. Repeat on the other side.
Benefit: Focuses on the triceps and side stabilization.
1. Stretch out on the ground, face down, with your feet together and arms extended over your head.
2. Bend your wrists with fingertips on the ground.
3. Inhale deeply, tighten your abs and press up to elevate your entire body like a bridge.
Mark Lauren likes to kick it up a notch by starting with his belly on the floor but his hands and feet on phone books. A variation of this exercise is the Diamond Plank, performed with your hands flat on the ground, fingers forming a diamond.
Benefit: Works just about everything, but focuses heat on the core, back and chest. Protect your lower back by keeping your midsection rock hard through the exercise.
7. Hindu push-up
1. Get into the starting position this way: From standard push-up position, hands a little wider than shoulder width, walk your feet up and spread them even wider, forming a “V” with your body at the waist and your butt in the air, looking backward through your legs.
2. Shift forward, bending your arms as your head comes down past your hands.
3. Follow through by dropping your hips and pushing back up, looking forward as your waist and back arch toward the floor.
4. Push your hips back up to the start position, forming a complete rotation and taking care not to bend your arms a second time.
5. To make it a dive bomber push-up, do the entire movement in reverse starting from the arched position.
Benefit: A favorite of Bruce Lee because it works the legs, back, chest, shoulders, arms, hips and abs. It’s even said to tone internal organs.
8. Chinese push-up
1. With your heels together, bend and form a 90-degree angle at your waist with your butt in the air, legs and arms extended, back straight. Form a diamond with your hands flat on the floor about 3 feet from your toes.
2. Bend your arms at the elbow while keeping everything else fixed.
3. Bring your head to your hands and return.
Benefit: Works triceps and deltoids.
9. Pec flies
1. Lie on your stomach, arms out to the sides forming a “T,” with a towel under each hand.
2. Keeping your arms extended and body straight, slide your hands in toward your chest.
3. Slowly slide your arms back out.
Benefit: Pounds the pectorals, but also hits the core and shoulders.
10. S&M push-up
1. Start in a standard push-up position.
2. Raise one leg straight back behind you while extending the opposite arm to the front.
3. Keeping your head up, hold as long as you can, and then switch sides.
4. To intensify the exercise, perform push-ups with either arm.
Benefit: Extreme core builder plus pecs, triceps and deltoids. Incredible spine stabilizer.
11. “T” push-up
1. With a dumbbell in each hand, get into a standard push-up position, feet slightly apart and arms extended.
2. Bending at the elbows, lower down as far as you can.
3. As you push back up, lift one hand straight up, rotating your body to form a “T.”
4. Return to the starting position and repeat.
Benefit: Builds muscles mass while working obliques. One of the few exercises that trains rotational strength.
12. Handstand push-up
1. Starting with your back to a wall, get down onto your hands and knees and walk your feet up the wall.
2. Walk your hands back to the wall, arms fully extended.
3. Tightening your core, but not arching your back, lower your body slowly until your head almost touches the floor.
4. Return and repeat.
Benefit: Works shoulders, triceps and core. Bring your hands together for more emphasis on triceps, or do some shrugs to tap your traps more.
13. One-arm push-up
1. Warm up with a quick set of standard push-ups.
2. Start in standard push-up position with feet a bit wider than shoulder width and hands a little closer.
3. Put one hand behind your back.
4. Spread fingers on the ground wide.
5. Lower down, keeping your shoulders parallel and your working elbow tucked into your ribs.
6. Focus your weight toward your pinkie as you push back up.
7. Alternate hands with each set.
Benefit: Full-body workout that can humble even the most hard core because of its unique demands on strength and coordination. Another of the few exercises that trains rotational strength.
14. Inverse push-up
1. Lie down on your back, knees up, feet flat.
2. Fold your arms back with hands flat by your ears, fingers pointing to your toes, elbows angled out.
3. Exhale as you push your whole body up.
4. Inhale as you slowly lower back down.
Benefit: A great butt-burner that also work triceps, deltoids and lower back. Keeps you from becoming a hunched-over old person.
VARIATIONS ON THE STANDARD PUSH-UP
Remember: For most push-up variations, you can add or reduce difficulty by adjusting your angle of attack. Using steps, chairs, countertops and even walls, raise your hands for less resistance and your feet for more.
15. Back-of-the-hands push-up
Start in the standard push-up position but with the backs of your hands on the ground, fingers pointing inward, then lower your body until your arms are bent at least 90 degrees.
Benefit: Strengthens wrists and works the pecs, rhomboids and lats more than a standard push-up, says Andre Turan, who earned a world record by doing 40 of these with a 40-pound weight strapped to his back.
16. Speed push-up
This looks like a standard push-up, but with three-quarters range of motion — stopping short of fully extending your arms — and performed with explosive speed. To determine optimal rep count, see how many you can do for 15 to 60 seconds, then train with half that number for three to five sets, but (because you’re building for speed) never going to max.
Benefit: Works cardio and builds speed for flying fists of fury, says former Marine and martial arts instructor Eddie Kowacz.
17. Boxer push-up
On your fists.
Benefit: Strengthens wrists while toughening knuckles.
18. Staggered hands push-up
Start in a standard push-up position, then move one hand forward and one hand back. Switch hand positions with each set. Increase difficulty by bringing your hands one in front of the other so that you lower down with one hand under your forehead and the other at your sternum.
Benefit: Works triceps, core, shoulders, pecs.
19. Clapping push-up
Push up with enough power so that your hands leave the floor long enough to clap with each rep. If that’s too hard, start without claps, then add them for more difficulty.
Benefit: A great way to build explosive power and give yourself a round of applause as you go.
20. Basketball push-up
Start in a standard push-up position, with one hand on a basketball. Lower the shoulder without the ball as close to the ground as possible. Switch hands with each set.
Benefit: Taps stabilizer muscles and core. Go stabilizer crazy: Put different-size balls under both hands and even your feet.
21. Maltese push-up
Your hands are planted wider and farther down, closer to your hips chest above your hands
Benefit: A favorite of gymnasts looking to perfect the Maltese cross technique, it’s a core and stabilizer killer.