10 Push-Up Variations for Extra Muscle and Power

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There’s a motive Monday is usually referred to as “Worldwide bench day.” Coaching for a powerful, muscular chest is superior and it may be appreciated year-round. However the bench press isn’t the one strategy to get there. The common-or-garden push-up is usually pushed apart within the quest for a powerful and muscular chest as a result of the newest flashy chest train featured on Instagram would possibly look “means cooler.” However is it as efficient because the push-up? Most likely not.

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When carried out often, the easy push-up and its variations will make it easier to construct greater pecs, triceps, and shoulders, enhance your relative energy, and it may possibly even switch over to boosting your bench and overhead press numbers.

Listed here are 10 push-up variations to strive for those who’re prepared to offer body weight coaching a good shake. You’ll by no means take a look at push-ups the identical means once more.

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Finest Push-Up Variations

Chaos Push-Up

This difficult variation takes the usual body weight push-up up a notch by utilizing a resistance band in a fairly uncommon means. By performing a push-up along with your palms on the band as a substitute of the ground, the extremely unstable ingredient fires up your entire shoulder and core stabilizer muscle groups.

The band provides you instantaneous suggestions when utilizing something lower than good kind. You’re compelled to maneuver at a slower pace to keep up management, and the elevated time below stress does wonders for including muscle.

When to Use it

When common push-ups are simple and also you’ve superior to doing push-ups for seemingly infinite reps, the chaos push-up will snap you out of this funk. The elevated time below stress makes it nice for including muscle and it’s an ideal different train for dumbbell bench presses. The instability of the chaos push-up is great for extra rotator cuff energy for those who’re getting back from a shoulder damage.

Easy methods to Do it

Loop a heavy-duty resistance band round security pins on the squat rack, at roughly waist top. Gentle to average bands could not be capable to help your physique weight. The upper the band is positioned and the upper your physique angle, the better the train will probably be.

Place your palms on the band in a shoulder-width grip and maintain tight with stiff arms. Carry your legs behind you and permit the band to help your weight, whereas participating your glutes and core. Bend your arms and slowly decrease your self right into a push-up. Press your self up, pause briefly on the prime to reset and stabilize earlier than repeating.

Decline Push-Up

The decline push-up is without doubt one of the most typical variations of the basic push-up. It’s unbelievable for including muscle as a result of it’s comparatively low stress on the joints, requires minimal gear to carry out, and could be educated for very excessive reps which advantages dimension and energy.

This motion shifts the main target to the higher chest and anterior deltoid, much like an incline bench press, for higher general muscle growth of the chest and shoulders.

When to Use it

Your chest is a comparatively giant muscle with a number of sections, or heads, so it pays to coach along with your arms at quite a lot of angles relative to your torso. (1) Carry out the decline push-up in any exercise instead of your normal push-up, notably in case your exercise lacks angled chest workouts or in case your shoulders are bothering you from different urgent workouts.

Easy methods to Do it

Place your toes on a field, step, or flat bench and place your palms beneath your shoulders. Have interaction your core to maintain your backbone impartial, neither sagging nor excessively arched. Decrease your self right into a push-up till your chest is simply above the ground and your elbows are angled roughly 45-degrees out of your sides. Pause briefly on the backside and push again to the beginning place. Reset your physique place at lockout and repeat.

Incline Plyo Push-Up

The incline plyo push-up lets you generate higher physique energy with much less compressive stress on the joints than related free weight actions.

The incline plyo push-up is a superb regression (much less difficult variation) from the clapping push-up since you press much less of your physique weight because of the inclined place. This will help you squeak a number of extra reps and apply extra explosive power.

When to Use it

Use units of six to 10 reps with this highly effective variation as a “primer” at the beginning of a heavy bench press exercise to recruit extra muscle and ignite your CNS. (2) In case you’re having problem with plyo push-ups from the ground, it is a good strategy to introduce explosive actions whereas constructing energy, pace, and energy.

Easy methods to Do it

Place your palms on a secure platform like a secured bench or field, a set of steps, or a Smith machine bar. Maintain your arms straight as you lean ahead and place your ft again, preserving a straight line by your physique. Bend your arms and decrease your self quickly towards the bench earlier than explosively pushing your self up and permitting your palms to depart the bench.

As you land, barely bend your elbows and “catch” your self on the best way down to raised take up the power. Descend easily into the subsequent repetition.

Clapping Push-Up

The clapping push-up is carried out with most power. On every repetition, your palms will go away the bottom and you’ll shortly clap them collectively to show energy, coordination, and management.

Energy workouts just like the clapping push-up prepare the fast-twitch muscle fibers of the physique, that are able to extra development than slow-twitch fibers. (3) This train is a development of the incline plyo push-up and may solely be carried out once you’ve mastered the incline motion.

When to Use It

As the primary train of the exercise, earlier than heavy lifting, carry out units of six to eight reps. This may construct explosive energy and assist to enhance your efficiency with different urgent workouts following within the exercise, such because the overhead press and bench press.

Easy methods to Do it

Lie on the ground in a great push-up place along with your palms below your shoulders, your legs straight, and your backbone impartial. Bend your arms and decrease your self right into a push-up place along with your elbows at a roughly 45-degree angle. Earlier than your chest touches the ground, press explosively and let your palms go away the ground. Rapidly clap your palms collectively and get them again to the ground to catch your self. Reset your physique earlier than the subsequent repetition or, for those who’re superior, instantly transition into the subsequent rep.

Spiderman Push-Up

The Spiderman push-up is a sophisticated variation that requires your higher physique and decrease physique to work along with coordination, energy, and stability.

This push-up variation will improve your chest’s time below stress on the peak of your push-up contraction, which can problem your energy and enhance the hypertrophy stimulus. It additionally exams and challenges your core stability and hip mobility, making it a superb “bang for the buck” motion.

When to Use It

The Spiderman push-up is great to insert right into a conditioning exercise or fats loss circuit as a result of it trains many muscle groups with one motion and improves your higher physique, core, and hip flexor energy. Be sure to do equal reps on each legs.

Easy methods to Do it

Assume your common push-up place on the bottom along with your palms barely wider than shoulder-width aside. Decrease your chest towards the bottom whereas concurrently pulling your proper knee towards your proper forearm. Don’t permit your torso to rotate excessively to accommodate your rising leg

Pause briefly within the backside whereas your chest hovers close to the bottom earlier than reversing the method and bringing your foot again to the beginning place whereas pushing your self again up. Repeat the subsequent repetition with the left leg. Alternate legs with every repetition. To cue the general motion, think about you’re a web-slinging superhero climbing the skin of a constructing.

Slider Push-Up

For the slider push-up, you’re utilizing a easy slider machine to achieve one arm ahead as you carry out a standard bent-arm push-up with the other arm. This variation recruits extra of the serratus anterior (outer chest muscle which controls the shoulder blades), whereas additionally rising muscular stress in your chest and triceps.

If in case you have shoulder mobility points, keep inside a spread of movement you may management by limiting how far you attain ahead. The slider push-up challenges your shoulder stabilization and will enhance shoulder well being over time.

When to Use It

The slider push-up is a good train to ultimately construct as much as a one-arm push-up as a result of a lot of the work is completed by one arm whereas the opposite is offering help. For optimum focus and energy, carry out this train close to the start of any exercise, earlier than fatiguing your chest and triceps with different workouts.

Easy methods to Do it

Kneel on the bottom and put an train slider or furnishings slider below every hand. Rotate your shoulders to place your wrists, elbows, and shoulders in a stacked place. Straighten your legs and stabilize your complete physique in a entrance plank place. Have interaction your glutes and hold a good core.

Decrease right into a push-up by bending one arm whereas preserving the other arm straight because it extends ahead. After reaching the bottom snug place, pull the ahead hand again whereas urgent the bent arm to lockout. Alternate sides with every repetition.

Suspension Strap Single-Arm Push-Up

This variation makes use of suspension straps, like gymnastic rings or TRX cables, to regulate your physique angle which modifications the depth of the push-up. The straps additionally add a component of instability, which implies you’re coaching core energy in addition to higher physique and decrease physique stabilizers.(4)

This train will assist strengthen imbalances between sides and offer you instantaneous suggestions if there’s something amiss along with your urgent method because it requires complete focus and management.

When to Use It

Unilateral (single-arm) presses are nice for strengthening imbalances between sides, since most individuals naturally have one barely extra developed or barely stronger arm. In case you discover one arm lagging behind the opposite throughout the bench press or overhead press, that is an efficient strategy to goal all sides by itself.

Easy methods to Do it

Loop the handles collectively and grip the strap over your shoulder with one hand. Regulate your depth by shifting your ft nearer to the anchor level (more durable) or additional away (simpler). Slowly decrease your self whereas preserving your shoulders sq. to the ground. Don’t rotate or shift to favor both facet. Whereas studying the motion, management the vary of movement and don’t let your elbow go too far previous your torso. Press again, reset, and repeat. Carry out all reps on one facet earlier than switching.

Band-Resisted Push-Up

Body weight push-ups won’t ever really exit of fashion, and typically you simply need to add resistance to this basic train. Placing weight plates in your again is okay, however it may possibly get awkward to maintain them in place as you progress. That is the place a looped resistance band is available in.

The band’s ascending resistance will make the train harder towards the highest of the push-up, which maximizes your muscle groups’ peak contraction.

When to Use It

The band supplies the vast majority of resistance within the higher finish of the vary of movement, which can assist construct triceps lockout energy and muscle features on your chest and triceps. Do that once you need to add selection to your coaching, construct some chest muscle, and put some pep again into your bench press with out joint stress from a barbell.

Easy methods to Do it

Loop a resistance band round your higher again and put the ends of the band snugly below your palms. Place your palms beneath your shoulders and rise onto your toes in a entrance plank place. Maintain a straight line by your core and squeeze your glutes. Slowly decrease your self down till your chest is sort of touching the ground. Take into consideration driving your palms by the ground as you press again up and combat resistance to the beginning place.

Archer Push-Up

This train has you performing a push-up with primarily one arm whereas the opposite arm supplies help, much like a slider push-up. The huge grip and lengthy vary of movement make this one of many extra superior push-up variations.

By alternating facet to facet, you permit every arm to do its personal share of the work. This distinctive coaching angle additionally works the chest in a different way from most workouts, which may stimulate extra muscle development.

When to Use It

In case your objective is to have the ability to do one-arm push-ups, archer push-ups can play a giant function in getting you there. It may be used as a “gateway” motion to construct the urgent energy and total-body stability wanted to attain a clear one-arm push-up.

Easy methods to Do it

Get on the bottom along with your toes planted and your palms set well-beyond shoulder-width. Your wrists and elbows could also be extra snug when your fingers level “out” towards the facet partitions as a substitute of ahead. Keep a stiff physique place by your core.

“Pull” your proper chest down towards your proper hand by bending your proper elbow. Maintain your left arm straight as your physique approaches the bottom. Press by your bent arm to return to the beginning place and repeat to the other facet. Alternate sides with every repetition, and carry out a good quantity of labor on all sides.

Yoga Push-Up

This distinctive train is one half push-up and one half “downward canine” yoga pose. It trains energy, mobility, and suppleness in your urgent muscle groups, core, higher again, decrease again, hips, and decrease physique.

Your pecs and triceps get important time below stress and a change of urgent angle much like a decline push-up. The “downward canine”-like place helps to enhance energy and mobility within the thoracic backbone (higher again), hips, and hamstrings.

When to Use It

The yoga push-up is good once you’ve lastly determined to carry out among the mobility work that usually will get forgotten. It really works properly as a time-efficient warm-up earlier than any exercise, particularly periods that can contain chest urgent or shoulder coaching as a result of it addresses the higher and decrease again.

Easy methods to Do it

Begin in an everyday push-up place, in your toes and palms, along with your physique straight from head to heel. Descend into a normal push-up along with your elbows roughly 45-degrees away out of your torso. When your chest is barely above the ground, press up whereas pushing your hips again at an upward angle. It is best to really feel a stretch in your hamstrings as your torso and legs kind an the other way up “V” form.

Maintain your shoulders relaxed and pushed away out of your ears. Reverse all the motion to transition again into the beginning push-up place and repeat for reps.

Muscular tissues Labored by the Push-Up

Most push-up actions primarily work the chest, with help from the shoulders and triceps, whereas the abdominals and decrease again work to maintain a powerful core.

person outdoors performing push-up
Credit score: Prostock-studio / Shutterstock

Nevertheless, particular variations can emphasize the higher chest, focus extra on core energy, or construct shoulder and higher again mobility.


Your chest muscle groups are entrance and heart with the push-up. Your pecs are largely chargeable for arm adduction (bringing your arms nearer to your centerline) which happens once you push your physique away from the ground.


As soon as your elbows break 90-degrees as you press upwards, your triceps take over considerably to increase your elbows and lockout your arms. Performing any push-up with a comparatively close-grip (your palms nearer than shoulder-width) may also improve triceps activation. (5)

Anterior Deltoids

The shoulder muscle has three particular person heads, every chargeable for shifting your arm in a special airplane relative to your physique. The anterior deltoid on the entrance of the shoulder works to “increase” your higher arm in entrance of your physique. It assists your chest and triceps when pushing your physique away from the bottom.


In case your backbone doesn’t keep impartial throughout the push-up, all of it counts for naught since you’ll compromise joint well being, security, and effectivity. The anterior and posterior core — your abs and decrease again — hold your torso inflexible so your chest and triceps can apply most power. Single-arm actions just like the slider push-up and single-leg actions just like the Spiderman push-up require extra core activation to counterbalance a decreased base of help.

Push-Up Type Ideas

The most typical method flaw within the push-up is a lack of core stability. This ends in an ugly-looking push-up which strains the decrease again and will increase the danger of damage. Your finest guess is to have interaction your abs and glutes, and cease the motion if you end up shedding spinal place.

Though there’s nothing essentially improper with having your palms wider than shoulder-width aside when performing the essential push-up, be sure you hold your elbows angled close to 45-degrees out of your torso for many push-up actions. When your palms are positioned huge, it’s extra work on the shoulders (and shoulder joints) and fewer involvement from the chest and triceps.

person outdoors performing push-ups
Credit score: lzf / Shutterstock

The cardinal sin of virtually all push-ups is reaching your head down to satisfy the ground. That is excessive danger in your cervical backbone and neck, and it short-changes the efficient vary of movement on your goal muscle groups. You’ll be able to stop this error by tucking your chin to your chest, pulling your head again to make a “double-chin”, and staring instantly on the flooring.

Push Your self with New Workout routines

Too many lifters write off the push-up as being “a straightforward train.” They underestimate its worth due to the final lack of load and obvious simplicity of the motion. However as any of those variations showcase, a number of tweaks right here and there’ll take the body weight push-up to the subsequent stage by including further motion, altering the angle of labor, or throwing stability necessities to the combination. Sort out a few of these workouts and the push-up won’t ever appear so “simple” once more.


  1. Rodríguez-Ridao, D., Antequera-Vique, J. A., Martín-Fuentes, I., & Muyor, J. M. (2020). Impact of 5 Bench Inclinations on the Electromyographic Exercise of the Pectoralis Main, Anterior Deltoid, and Triceps Brachii throughout the Bench Press Train. Worldwide journal of environmental analysis and public well being, 17(19), 7339. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17197339
  2. Sale D. G. (1988). Neural adaptation to resistance coaching. Medication and science in sports activities and train, 20(5 Suppl), S135–S145. https://doi.org/10.1249/00005768-198810001-00009
  3. D’Antona, G., Lanfranconi, F., Pellegrino, M. A., Brocca, L., Adami, R., Rossi, R., Moro, G., Miotti, D., Canepari, M., & Bottinelli, R. (2006). Skeletal muscle hypertrophy and construction and performance of skeletal muscle fibres in male physique builders. The Journal of physiology, 570(Pt 3), 611–627. https://doi.org/10.1113/jphysiol.2005.101642
  4. Borreani, S., Calatayud, J., Colado, J. C., Moya-Nájera, D., Triplett, N. T., & Martin, F. (2015). Muscle activation throughout push-ups carried out below secure and unstable circumstances. Journal of train science and health, 13(2), 94–98. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesf.2015.07.002
  5. Kim, Y. S., Kim, D. Y., & Ha, M. S. (2016). Impact of the push-up train at completely different palmar width on muscle actions. Journal of bodily remedy science28(2), 446–449. https://doi.org/10.1589/jpts.28.446

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