Transform the Shape of Your Arms With These 16 Push-Up Variations
Along with lifting weights, push-ups are one of the best exercises you can do to sculpt and strengthen your upper body. These 16 variations range from easy to challenging, so choose the ones that suit your ability. You'll not only feel super sore after doing these, but you'll look and feel stronger as well.
- Start in a plank position with your arms and legs straight, shoulders above your wrists.
- Take a breath in, and as you exhale, bend your elbows out to the sides and lower your chest toward the ground. Stop as soon as your shoulders are in line with your elbows. Inhale to straighten the arms. This counts as one rep.
- If this is too difficult, do this exercise with your knees on the floor.
- Start in plank position, placing your palms on a stable surface like a wall, chair, kitchen counter, back of couch, or bench. Keep your arms and legs straight with weight on your toes, shoulders above the wrists, and core engaged.
- Take a breath in, and as you exhale, bend your elbows out to the sides and lower your torso in one piece (it's common to leave your pelvis behind, aka sticking your butt out) toward your hands. Stop when your shoulders are in line with your elbows. Inhale and straighten your arms to return to your starting position. This counts as one rep.
- Start on your hands and knees.
- Extend your left leg behind you so it's parallel with the floor. Engage your abs.
- With your leg extended, bend your elbows, lowering your torso toward the floor while keeping your left heel in line with your left hip.
- Straighten your elbows to push yourself away from the floor, completing one rep.
- Start in a plank position with your arms and legs straight, shoulders above the wrists.
- Keeping your upper arms parallel, bend your elbows, lowering your chest until your shoulders are in line with your elbows. The elbows should touch your ribcage.
- Inhale to straighten the arms. This counts as one rep.
Down Dog Push-Up
- Begin in plank position. Place your hands together, directly under your sternum, with the tips of your index fingers and thumbs touching. Your fingers and thumbs should form a diamond or triangle shape.
- After an inhale, exhale to bend your elbows, lowering your chest toward the floor.
- Inhale to straighten the arms.
- This counts as one rep.
- If this is too difficult, try separating your hands a couple inches or widening your feet slightly. Still too hard? Then lower the knees to the ground.
- Begin in plank position.
- Bend your elbows lowering into a push-up.
- Straighten your arms and lift your right arm toward the ceiling, twisting into a side plank to make a T shape with your body.
- Rotate back to plank, placing your right palm on the floor to lower into a push-up.
- This time as you straighten your arms, rotate to the left lifting the left arm up. Return to plank to complete one rep.
- Begin in a plank, then lower your left elbow to the ground, with your forearm crossing under your chest. From this position, bend your right elbow, lowering your body to the mat. Use your abs to keep your torso in one piece as you come to the floor.
- Exhale as you straighten your right elbow to return to the starting position. This completes one rep.
- Start in a traditional plank position, with your hands under your shoulders and your body in one straight line.
- Bend your elbows out to the side to lower your torso toward the floor, and bring your left knee forward to touch it to your left elbow.
- As you straighten your arms, return to plank position, bringing your left foot next to your right; then repeat this move on the other side. This counts as one rep.
Push-Up With Alternating Lunges
- Begin in plank position.
- Do one push-up, bending and straightening the elbows.
- With straight arms, step your left foot forward to the outside of your left hand. Look up and press your pelvis slightly forward to increase the stretch in your right hip flexor. Step your left foot back and do another push-up.
- Step your right foot forward to the outside of your right hand to stretch your left hip. This completes one rep.
Plyo Push-Up Prep
- Start in a plank on your knees. Move your left hand out to the side, then bend both elbows lowering your torso toward the mat. Straighten your arms to return to plank. This completes one rep.
- Switch your hands, bringing in the left hand while stepping the right hand wide — this is where you should try jump off your hands. Perform a push-up. This completes one rep.
One Arm Med-Ball Push-Up
- Start in a plank position with your left hand on a medicine ball.
- Keeping your torso square to the floor, perform a push-up by bending and straightening both arms. If a traditional push-up is too challenging, lower your knees to the floor.
- Roll the ball to the right hand and do another push-up. This completes one rep.
Feet on Medicine Ball Push-Up
- Begin in plank position with you toes resting on a medicine ball.
- Keeping the core engaged, bend and straighten your arms to complete a push-up.
Side-to-Side BOSU Push-Ups
- Place a BOSU on the floor, flat side down. Come into plank position with both hands on top of the BOSU.
- Step the left hand onto the floor and lower into a push-up. As you straighten your arms, bring your left hand back onto the BOSU.
- Repeat on the other side, placing the right hand onto the floor as you lower into a push-up; return the right hand onto the BOSU while straightening your arms. This counts as one rep.
BOSU Push-Up With a Twist
- Place a BOSU on the floor, ball-side down. Don't have a BOSU? You can do this variation without one too.
- Start in plank position with your hands at the edges of the BOSU. Bend your right knee, twist your torso to bring the knee a few inches behind your left arm, lifting the leg as high as you can. Return to plank position, and do a push-up.
- Switch sides and bend your left knee. Twist your torso, bringing your knee behind your right arm.
- Return to plank position for another push-up. This counts as one rep.
- Lie on your back. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the ground, hips-width distance apart. Keep your heels as close to your butt as possible.
- Bend your elbows and place your palms flat on the ground above your shoulders, fingertips facing your feet.
- Inhale, press into your palms and lift your head and shoulders off the ground, placing the crown of your head on the mat. Check to make sure your hands and feet are parallel.
- Take a deep inhale as you straighten your arms and lift your head off the ground, coming into a backbend. Try to walk your hands and feet a little closer together — this will make it easier to do push-ups in this position.
- As you exhale, bend your elbows and lower the top of your head toward the floor, stopping before it touches. Then inhale to straighten your arms, coming back into the wheel position to complete one rep.