Are you tired of doing push-ups? You know they’re good for you and you’ve learned to do them properly. But if you have to do another push-up, you’re going to hurt someone! It’s hard to blame you. After all, pull up any good online workout or attend any great fitness class or training session and you’re going to get a healthy dose of push-ups. And then more push-ups. And maybe a few more just for good measure. Well good news, friends. The push-up fun squad has arrived! What you really need is a push-up makeover. We’ve provided you with 15 push-up variations that will take you beyond the basics and challenge you in a brand new way!
Incorporate one at a time into your workouts. Sprinkle one in this week. Add another one next week. Or maybe try five reps of all of them today and thank us tomorrow. However you go about it, enjoy! And may you have endless years of push-up bliss!
Resistance Band Push-Ups
Why are these great? Whether you do push-ups on your toes or on your knees, the resistance band adds more resistance and therefore shortens the number of repetitions you will need to maximize your work. It’s almost like having someone sit on your back!
2) Kneel down placing handles against the floor then extend legs long until you are in a plank position.
3) Slowly lower chest to floor keeping body long. Press back up until arms are long. Repeat.
Army Crawl Push-Ups
Why are these great? It’s all about the core. The extra movement between the forearms and hands causes you to stabilize your mid-section and works the core muscles like crazy!
B) Bend your left arm so that it is now in forearm plank position. Then bend your right arm so you are in a full forearm plank position.
C) Lift your left hand and place it on the mat directly below your shoulder as you push through your palm to lift yourself. As you reach the top, place your right palm on the floor under your right shoulder and push back into a full plank.
D) Now lower your chest to the ground and perform a push up. Repeat, leading with the right arm.
(Note: If you get confused think “Down, down, up, up, push-up. Down, down, up, up, push-up.”)
Why are these great? Rotation is an underused part of fitness. The coordination and balance, not to mention shoulder stability, are more than just a step beyond a push-up – they take it to a whole new level!
2) Bend elbows lowering chest to the ground, keeping gaze in front of fingertips.
3) Press chest back to start position and open right hand and hip to the ceiling so you end up in a side plank position. Feet stay staggered and legs long.
4) Rotate right hand back to start position and repeat exercise, this time opening the left hand into side plank. This is one repetition.
Why are these great? The punching motion causes you to pull your core in quickly. Think of it in terms of a jump squat only for the abdominals instead of the legs.
B) Keeping your body straight, bend your arms to lower your body toward the floor.
C) Straighten your arms to push your body back up into plank position as you punch your right arm forward. Return your hand to the floor, lower back to the bottom of your push-up and repeat punching with left arm.
Medicine Ball Rolling Push-Up
Why are these great? Two reasons. First, the action of rolling the medicine ball pulls the core stabilizers in tighter. Second, having one hand higher during the push-up forces that arm to work harder.
2) Lower chest toward the floor, bending your elbows and keeping body straight. (If this is too difficult, bend your knees and place them on the ground.)
3) Press up to start position then roll the ball over to the left hand. Repeat the push-up with ball under left hand. This is one repetition.
Why are these so great? Hey, a little extra cardio never hurt anyone! The jack motion will get the heart rate up and your low back will be put to the test. So engage that core and jump away.
B) Lower to a push-up while jumping feet to a wide position. Keep abs tight and back straight.
C) Jump your feet back together as you straighten your arms to return to start. This is one rep.
Stability Ball Push-Up
Why are these great? The stability ball provides two bonus features: instability and incline. Both put a fun (and challenging!) twist on the classic.
2) As you inhale, bend your elbows to lower chest toward the floor. As you exhale push back up to plank position.
Why are these great? Movement creates more heart rate and raises your metabolic burn. The simple act of walking your body to the side will accelerate your heart rate and engage dozens of small stabilizer muscles in your core, shoulders, and arms.
B) Walk your right hand and foot out to the side and lower to a push up by bending your elbows to the sides and lowering your chest towards the mat then press up straightening your arms and bring the right and left foot back to your starting position. Repeat on the other side.
Why are these so great? The obliques like the attention. Drawing your knee to your elbow works your oblique muscles and your entire core like crazy!
B) Drop into a push-up by bending your elbows out to the side and lowering your chest towards the mat and pull the left knee toward the outside of your left elbow and hold for one count, then press up to plank returning your foot to mat. Repeat on other side.
(Note: If this is too difficult for you, perform a complete push-up on both feet first, then pull the knee to the elbow once lifted. Work your way up to performing at the same time.)
Down Dog Push-Up
Why are these so great? Taking the extra step to press into down dog gives you a well-needed stretch over the entire back of your body. Bonus: your shoulder and back muscles are involved, too.
B) Lower your hips to a push-up position. When your hips are parallel with the floor, perform a push-up. When you finish the push-up, raise your hips back up the position where they began so your body once again forms an inverted V.
Dive Bomber Push-Up
Why are these so great? The dive with arms close to the body engages the triceps and the press upward stretches the hips and the chest.
B) Keeping your shoulder lowered away from your ears, bring your chest forward between your hands as you bend your arms.
C) Continue to glide through as you straighten your arms and bring your chest up. Your hips will now be hovering just above the floor. To finish the push-up, reverse the glide, raising your hips back up.
Shoulder Tap Push-Up
Why are these so great? The tapping motion pushes your body to balance briefly, which engages your stabilizers. It also allows one arm at a time to hold you up creating unilateral strength on each side.
A) Begin in a plank position with hands direction under shoulders and feet hip-width apart. Keeping abdominals and legs tight as you slowly lower your chest toward the ground with elbows bending and pointing behind you.
B) Exhale as you push back up to lengthen arms into plank then lift you right hand to tap your left shoulder at the top. Repeat with the other arm tapping.
Why are these so great? We all need a little extra help on the back side of our arms. Regular push-ups only offer a minuscule amount of tricep strengthening. But these puppies target the triceps, and you will feel them the next day!
A) Lie down on one side stacking your shoulders, hips, and feet. Bring top hand to the mat directly in front of your bottom shoulder. The bottom hand will be wrapped around your waist below your chest.
B) The top arm does all the work as you press yourself up and lower yourself to the mat to your starting position. You will feel the tricep muscles on the back of the top arm working. Repeat on the other side.
Why are these so great? These are the absolute KING of challenging push-ups! They aren’t easy, but start with the modified version (shown next) and keep working at it. Once you are able to tackle the full on exercise, you are going to be amazed at what it does for your core strength!
2) Bend elbows and slowly begin to lower chest to the floor while at the same time sliding right leg long under your body (keeping it lifted off the floor).
3) Tighten abdominals and press chest back up until arms are long again returning right leg to original position.
4) Repeat using left leg. This is one repetition.
Modified 3-Point Push-Up
Why are these so great? Here is a modified version of the 3-point push-up challenge. Start with this and when you have it down, go back to the full version and give it a try.
B) Hold you left leg straight behind you as you bend your arms to lower yourself into a low push-up position. Straighten your arms pressing up to start position. Repeat several times and switch legs.
If your push-ups need a little practice, take our 28-Day Push-Up Challenge! Oh, and to see some of the variations listed above, follow along as I demonstrate some of the most popular push-up variations: