There is no doubt that the standard push up is the best bodyweight exercise to train almost all the muscles of the upper body. It is the most powerful move to work your chest, but it also strengthens and tone your shoulders, triceps, back, leg, abs and your core.
If you let out this simple yet magical compound movement from your workout routine, you make a huge mistake.
However, doing the same old press up all the time can be boring and does not allow to work different muscles. The good news is that there are hundreds of different push up exercises. From the presentation below you can learn over 100 types, but the limit is your creativity to enhance the difficulty.
Why should you do more types of push ups?
There are many benefits:
- They make your push up workout routine more enjoyable, and you can challenge yourself.
- By making different exercises, you can engage more types of muscle groups, or focus on one particular one. For example, to target your lower, upper, or inner chest.
- By doing the most extreme ones such as the plyometric or single arm push ups you can increase your strength, muscle mass and explosive power drastically.Hence, they are great for martial arts such as MMA.
- You do not need to go to the gym and lift weights. There are many techniques to increase or decrease the resistance. For example, you by changing your positions to decline or incline. Or by using simple equipment like a stability ball, TRX or bars.
What should you pay attention to?
Trying all these variations and implementing them into your workout routine is tempting.
- However, always perform the moves correctly. Badly-done exercises are not only inefficient, but they can also be dangerous, you may get injuries easily. Do the motion slowly first and keep the position.
- Hence, start with ones that you can perform correctly and comfortably. Once you can do 10-15 proper reps, then move to tough variations.
- Most of the workouts below do not need anything, but there are some that require equipment such as dumbbells, medicine ball or kettlebells. These tools make the moves more challenging. It will be harder to keep the balance of your body and perform the exercise accurately.
- If you have weak wrists do bodyweight or weight exercises to make your grip, wrist and forearm stronger.
So here is the ultimate list of push up variations from easiest to hardest (thanks stack52.com for the fantastic presentation). You will learn beginner, intermediate and the most difficult advanced moves.
Here is the video with a few tutorials.
My favorite ones are the Hindu, diamond, Spiderman, plyo, finger tip, handstand, pike, knuckle but I include a more in my push up variation routine for strength and intensity. And I regularly use weighted vest for adding extra resistance.
Besides the mentioned equipment, you could get for some bucks excellent tools that help to get even more from your strength training. For example, Perfect Pushup Elite, which allows you to make even more types of exercises and work the muscles from different angles. Or buy a set of push up bar which lets you go deeper.Related: Check out the best push up bars here
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