Push-ups have been around since almost the beginning of time, and frankly, they still hold up today. While offering strength and fitness benefits at absolutely zero cost for gym memberships or equipment, push-ups should be a staple in anybody’s workout routine. There are many variations and styles of push-ups which can develop all areas of the chest while toning and strengthening other parts of your body like your arms and core. Push-ups also provide a stretch to your back and biceps while giving you a cardio boost and they will strengthen your rotator cuffs over time. Since push-ups call for your body to use several different muscles your natural HGH (Human Growth Hormone) will be increased; this makes for better muscle definition and strength. Doing push-ups regularly also allows for better posture and strengthens your lower back, and remember when doing any body weight exercise it will increase bone density and fight osteoporosis.
The good old classic push up can be a good friend to you in or out of the gym. I love to do these on days when a gym is out of the question as well as working them into my chest routine while at the gym. A good routine I tend to use regularly is a 5 by 10 split. I use 5 different hand positions with 10 reps each. This is one set. I do anywhere from 2-5 sets depending on how much other chest work I have done or will do that day. I like to start out in standard shoulder width form and then out wide before moving my hands in about 3 inches for each set until I finish with close grip push-ups. This exercise will definitely make you stronger.
These are great for building your upper chest while helping to carve out that defining line from top to bottom. They also do well for your strength.
How do you perform these? Prop your feet up on a bench, sofa, or chair. Put your hands at about shoulder width and lower your body as low as you can go to the ground. These are great at the end of a chest work out to really give you that extra burn before you finish. They can be performed in both wide and close grip to hit different parts of your chest and triceps. I feel It’s best to use 3 maybe 4 different hand positions for decline push-ups. This will also hit your upper back a bit depending on how tired your chest is already.
Place your feet in the standard position on the ground and put both hands 2-3 feet in the air on a sturdy surface. Perform these by getting as deep as you can to your hand position for an extra burn.
One Armed Incline Push-Ups
When doing this exercise you will have your feet in the standard push-up position and elevate one arm onto a bench or another sturdy surface. Your inclined arm should stay in the same place as it would be for normal push-ups (meaning in the same spot but raised higher).
Clap push-ups are challenging and they will definitely give you a tough go of it at first. These are performed in standard grip position. Lower yourself down to the ground and on the way up release your hands and clap, then back down and repeat.
For eccentric push-ups start in the lowered position and push up as fast as you can and then lower your body back down slowly (like doing deceleration or negative reps with weights). Doing this will create such a burn your arms will feel like they are falling off.
Dead Stop Push-Ups
This one is done by allowing your chest to touch the floor and release your hands about 3 inches off the ground before returning back to the ground to complete the push-up. These will work your upper back and traps pretty well.
One Legged Push-ups
For these, you will lift one leg up higher than your buttocks and perform the push-ups. I suggest 10 reps for each leg and sets will vary depending on the rest of your chest workout.
Along with working your chest, these will strengthen your core and hip flexors while giving them an intense burn. When doing Spiderman push-ups you should bring each knee off to the side of your body and up to try and touch your elbow. One knee at a time. Do this as you are going to down toward the ground.
Kettle Bell or Dumbbell Push-Ups
Simply grab a set of kettlebells or dumbbells and perform push-ups with varying degrees of width separating your hands. This adds an extra form of resistance activating your core and several other muscles in the body.
This amazing push-up variation is a killer routine for the entire body. Start in the upward position and allow your sternum to touch the ground. Hold there for three seconds and then explode up. Pause at the top for one second before lowering back down to repeat.
Hand Stand Wall-ups
The handstand push-up works your shoulders, upper chest, core, triceps, and traps pretty hard. Place your hands 8-12 inches from the wall. Throw up your heels and extend your arms while balancing yourself. Come down and then up and feel the burn here with this advanced level push-up.
The Ultimate Burnout Push-Ups
The three-minute push-up. For this end of routine exercise, you will do as many push-ups you can in three minutes, only stopping if you have to. If you do need to stop for a breather hold in the upright position to really grind out your core.
Doing any variations of these push-ups will definitely make you stronger and fatigue your whole body while adding muscle and definition. Now get to work.
Want an additional challenge? Add a pull-up routine to your push-ups! Can’t do pull-ups? Just follow the link to see how to get started!