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10 Push-up variations worth trying

Laura Williams, M.S.Ed. is a personal trainer, freelance writer and entrepreneur who works with a wide variety of fitness clients. She's the founder of the popular website, - Girls Gone Sporty, and she's the host of the High Impact Blogg...

Mix up your push-ups

Don't waste money on the Perfect Pushup. Instead, perfect your push-up and add interesting push-up variations to your routine to get the upper body you've always wanted.
10 Push-up variations worth trying | SheKnows.com

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The beauty of the
push-up is threefold


  • You can do it practically anywhere.
  • It works your chest, triceps, shoulders and core all in a single move.
  • There are a million variations you can incorporate into your routine to keep things challenging.

Even if you're new to fitness, you can master a modified knee push-up in no time, gradually working your way to a standard push-up. And whether you're a beginner or an expert, most push-up variations can be performed on either the knees or the toes.

Basic push-up form

When performing a push-up, it's important to keep your core tightened and your body as straight as possible. Avoid sticking your butt into the air or allowing your lower back to sway. You want to keep your neck aligned with your spine.

Lower your upper body to the ground before pressing back to the starting position. At the top of the movement, avoid locking your elbows.

1

Knee push-up

knee pushup | SheKnows.com

A great exercise for beginners, the knee push-up works your upper body and core just like a standard push-up, but requires less upper-body and core strength.

  1. Balance on your hands and knees, your body forming a straight line from your knees to your head.
  2. Bend your elbows and lower your body to the floor, stopping just before your chest touches the ground.
  3. Press yourself back to start.
2

Incline push-up

incline pushup | SheKnows.com

The incline push-up is another modification that works well for beginners. While I'm showing the exercise using a Lebert Equalizer bar, you can use a wall, bench or sturdy chair.

  1. Place your hands on a sturdy object and step your feet back until your body forms a straight line from heels to head.
  2. Bend your elbows and lower your upper body toward the object, stopping just before your chest touches it.
  3. Reverse the movement and return to start.
3

Standard push-up

pushup | SheKnows.com

  1. Start on your hands and knees, then step your feet backward so you're balancing on your toes. Your body should form a straight line from heels to head.
  2. Lower yourself toward the ground, stopping just before your chest touches. You can target your triceps by keeping your elbows in toward your body, or you can keep the focus on your chest by allowing your elbows to move perpendicular to your body.
  3. Reverse the movement and return to start.
4

Stability ball push-up

stability ball pushup | SheKnows.com

The stability ball push-up adds an element of balance to the exercise, requiring more core engagement. The closer the ball is to your knees, the easier the exercise will be.

  1. Start on your hands and knees with a stability ball behind you. Place your feet on the stability ball and walk your hands out so your body forms a straight line from toes to head.
  2. Bend your elbows and lower your upper body toward the floor.
  3. Reverse the movement and return to start.
5

BOSU ball push-up

BOSU ball pushup | SheKnows.com

Like the stability ball push-up, the BOSU ball push-up requires additional core engagement to maintain proper form. Feel free to drop your knees to the floor to make the exercise easier.

  1. Grip the outer edges of a BOSU ball and step your feet behind you until your body forms a straight line from heels to head.
  2. Bend your elbows and lower yourself toward the BOSU ball, stopping just before your chest touches down.
  3. Reverse the movement and return to start.
6

Split push-up

split pushup | SheKnows.com

The split push-up requires you to shift your weight to one side, targeting one side of your chest more than the other. While I used a medicine ball to demonstrate this exercise, feel free to use a step, bench or other raised surface to achieve the same result.

  1. Start in push-up position, with one hand on the ground and the other hand balanced on a raised surface.
  2. Lower your chest toward the floor, stopping just shy of the top of the raised surface.
  3. Reverse the movement and return to start. Switch sides halfway through your set.
7

Plyo push-up

plyo pushup | SheKnows.com

The plyometric push-up, or plyo push-up, enhances upper-body power and strength. Start on your knees; as your strength increases, try the exercise while balanced on your toes.

  1. Balance on your hands and knees, your body forming a straight line from knees to head.
  2. Lower yourself to the ground. As you press up, push as hard as you can through your palms, exploding upward.
  3. Catch yourself with slightly bent elbows and continue performing the exercise.
8

Spider push-up

spider pushup | SheKnows.com

Work your upper body, obliques and hips with this more advanced push-up move.

  1. Start in a standard push-up position, balanced on your palms and toes.
  2. Lower yourself toward the ground, rotating one hip outward, bringing your knee up toward your elbow.
  3. Press yourself back to start, returning your leg to the starting position.
  4. Alternate from side to side.
9

Scorpion push-up

scorpion pushup | SheKnows.com

The scorpion push-up works your glutes and hips, requiring more core engagement throughout the push-up.

  1. Start in a standard push-up position, balanced on your palms and toes.
  2. Bend one knee to a 90-degree angle, your foot in a flexed position.
  3. Lower yourself toward the floor. If you can, press your heel up as you lower your chest.
  4. Reverse the movement and return to start. Switch legs halfway through each set.
10

Push-up jacks

pushup jacks | SheKnows.com

Push-up jacks require core engagement and lower-body power in addition to upper-body strength.

  1. Start in a standard push-up position, balanced on your toes and palms.
  2. As you lower yourself to the ground, hop your feet up and out, as if you were performing a jumping jack.
  3. When your chest is just shy of touching the ground, reverse the movement, hopping your feet back to center and pressing your body up to start position.

More workout tips

Powerful plyometric moves
6 Moves for leaner legs
Get Jackie Warner's amazing abs

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