10 Effective Push-up Variations

10 Effective Push-up Variations

Pushups might simply be the cornerstone of a good training regimen if bodyweight movements are its foundation. The simple pushup is a very effective exercise that uses very little floor space and only your willpower to train your chest, arms, and shoulders (and, to a lesser extent, your core, if you're disciplined in your plank posture). Pushups are probably something you learned to do as a child, long before gaining strength and muscle mass were on your priority list. If you're wise, you'll keep performing them throughout your exercises until the day you finally leave the gym.

Now that we've proven the merits of pushups, it's time to face a challenging reality: the pushup itself is a fairly restricted exercise. The movement isn't very difficult after you've mastered the form, at least not until you start counting working sets by the dozen (or more). Keeping yourself in the same position will simply continue to target the same muscle areas, leaving a lot to be desired in terms of the muscular stimulus. Pushups are commonly regarded as a novice workout for a reason: You'll go to greater and better things in due time.

But in difficult situations, such as when you're stranded on the road without access to exercise equipment or you're pressed for time, you might not have a choice but to perform a bodyweight-only workout. You won't have to be as constrained when you switch to pushups, though. If you're savvy about what you're doing, there are other options.

10 Best Push-Up Variations

Close-Grip Pushup

10 Effective Push-up Variations

This is one of the simplest pushup variations available, as was already noted. Your triceps will be more actively recruited if you move your hands closer together, ideally with your hands somewhat narrower than shoulder width. Just be careful not to put your hands any closer, like into a diamond shape, since you may find it more difficult to hold that posture. Continue through all of your reps while keeping your elbows close to your torso.

Mixed-Style Close-Grip Pushup

This variation on the close-grip pushup incorporates some of the aforementioned concepts, such as pausing and blending tempos, all of which work to lengthen the duration spent under tension. Take a break halfway through your reps rather than complete them all. Make sure your form is flawless during that time.

Spiderman Pushup

10 Effective Push-up Variations

With this web-slinging pushup variation, engage your hips. Although difficult, the effort is worthwhile. Open your hips as you lower into each rep, driving your knee toward your elbow. When your pushup reaches its lowest point, you should place your knee. Reverse the motion with your leg to get back to the beginning position as you press to complete the rep. Too challenging to coordinate? Before each pushup rep, make the knee drive. Want to make the most of your stressful moments? Wait until you are at the bottom position before executing the knee drive.

Archer Pushup

10 Effective Push-up Variations

Unlike standard pushups, this variation enables you to train unilaterally (one side of your body at a time). Start by facing your hands away from yourself and placing them farther away from your torso than is typical. Maintaining tension in your glutes and core will help you control your body as you lower yourself to one side, then the other. If this is too challenging, only lower to one side at once.

Incline Archer Pushup

10 Effective Push-up Variations

Increase the difficulty of this already challenging variation by adding some elevation, while also shifting the emphasis to your upper chest muscles, which may be particularly challenging to target without the use of weights. By taking Samuel's advice and adding a pause at the end of each rep, you may up the ante and eliminate any potential momentum you might use to cheat your way back up.

Post Pushup

10 Effective Push-up Variations

Here is another unilateral variation, which is an excellent substitute or starting point for scaling up to the infamously difficult single-arm pushup. You'll need a strong anchor point, such as a pole or squat rack, and you'll need to keep all the crucial form cues from the regular variation, but without the use of one arm. When you try this, pay additional attention to bracing your core to resist rotational forces to maintain proper body control (the post does help, but you'll need to fire your obliques, too).

Typewriter Pushup

10 Effective Push-up Variations

With this workout, you may advance your archer pushup by giving your chest an additional challenge as you switch sides. Establish your position exactly as you did for the archer, but instead of simply shifting your weight to one side of your body and pressing back up, keep your feet close to the ground and press to move to the opposite side. The process seen in the video above should be followed to build up to the full movement.

Handstand Pushup

10 Effective Push-up Variations

This popular CrossFit move gets you vertical and puts the emphasis on your shoulders rather than your chest, so skip it if you have any shoulder-related health issues. Locate a wall and stand on a handstand there (if you struggle to do that, you should also skip this variation). You can prevent yourself from falling over by positioning your hands just wider than shoulder width, bracing your core, and tightening your glutes. Right before touching the ground, bring your head down so that it is just in front of your hands. Leave this exercise off your training schedule if you can't keep your reps slow and controlled to prevent a head injury.

Loaded Pushup

10 Effective Push-up Variations

Okay, so this variation sort of violates the bodyweight prompt, but there's a high chance you'll still have access to something heavy you can place on top of your back, even if you're in the least gym-friendly environment imaginable. Additionally, loading the movement has tonnes of benefits even if you're only performing pushups in the gym. Simply be sure to support the weight on your back securely and evenly. Keep in mind that maintaining full-body tension will assist you in maintaining the weight in the proper location (and is a cue you should use for every pushup, anyhow).

Superman Pushup

10 Effective Push-up Variations

The list comes to a close with yet another variation inspired by superheroes because this is arguably the hardest pushup you can do. The Superman pushup has one of the greatest entrance barriers since it increases power in a way that the majority of other variations do not—we have a whole progression plan to help you work up to repetitions. However, if you can build up to it, Superman is well worth the effort because it's one of the coolest-looking stunts you can perform in the gym that isn't blatantly dangerous.

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