Push up Variations

by Joe Lawrence | March 17th, 2014 | Strength Training, Upper Body

muscles (400x400)When it comes to exercise, there are two things I look for to compile my list. They are variation to keep the routine exciting and the ability to do the exercise without special equipment. I want to be able to do the exercise anywhere I am, whether it is the office, gym, or in my bedroom. That is why I love push ups!

Push ups are the best overall upper body exercise. You can make them as easy as you want or as difficult. They can be tweaked to target the shoulders, triceps, or whatever. Push ups can be done anywhere and anytime.

This article is going to cover some different variations of push ups starting with the staggered push up.

The staggered push up starts off the same as a traditional push up. However, you slide one hand forward about six inches to offset your base. Do ten then switch the hands to stagger the other. Do ten more and then move the other hand backwards six inches and so forth. This will focus on your shoulders a little bit more, but mainly it just allows you to hit your chest muscles a little differently.

The next push up is the chest sweeper. This variation has you get into a traditional push up stance and then slightly widen the base by moving the hands outwards about one hand-width. Then, lower your chest to just above the ground and without moving your hands, sweep your chest to your right hand and then to your left. You should keep the same distance from the ground during this exercise. It is an endurance building variation, so keep going back and forth slowly until you no longer can take it. It took me some time to get the motion down to where I did not feel like a fool.

Then there is the decline push up. This is a variation where you elevate your feet and increase the difficulty of the push up by moving your center of gravity. The higher you move your feet the harder the push up is to complete. I like to put my feet on the bed, arm of the couch, etc. If you are really getting good, try a handstand push up by propping your feet on a door or wall.

Incline push ups are the yin to the decline’s yang. By elevating your hands and leaving your feet on the ground the push ups become easier because you are shifting the weight to the feet which are not moving. Again the arm of the couch is a good place or a sturdy chair on carpet or a non slip surface. You do not want the chair to kick out on you as you are doing this…ouch!

Push ups can be done anywhere and at anytime. There are literally hundreds of variations to keep them exciting. Find the combination that works best for you and pack on some muscle.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.