This CrossFit Push-Up Variation Never Fails to Make My Arms and Abs Sore For Days

POPSUGAR Photography | Tamara Pridgett
POPSUGAR Photography | Tamara Pridgett

I'm not the biggest fan of upper-body workouts, i.e. push-ups, but I do know that that I've got to do them if I want to have a strong upper body. I don't have the desire to do 50 push-ups first thing in the morning every. single. day., but I am OK with programming them into my workouts. One push-up variation I like to add to workouts for myself and my clients is the hand release push-up.

What I like about hand release push-ups is that you can't cheat the movement. As a trainer, I see people do a lot of funky things while performing push-ups — like only bending their elbows two centimeters and pulsing their arms as fast as they can. Another push-up faux pas I see is not doing push-ups with a full range of motion. This can often be because the person isn't strong enough or they just don't want to go all the way to the ground because it's more challenging.

Cue the hand release push-up. In my opinion, it's a great solution to improve your push-up technique and it's great for core and upper-body strength. There's no way to cut corners, you're breaking down every portion of the push-up, and it will leave you with some serious results. If you want to improve your form and arm and core strength, keep reading.

How to Do a Hand Release Push-Up

  • Come into a plank position with your wrists underneath your shoulders and your fingertips pointing forward. Be sure to keep your neck and back in a neutral position — you don't want your spine to round or arch. Be sure to engage your core to help you maintain proper form.
  • Take a breath in, and as you exhale, bend your elbows out to the sides, creating a 45-degree angle with your arms, and lower your body all the way down to the ground.
  • Then, retract your shoulder blades (think about trying to hold a pencil in between your shoulders) and simultaneously lift both hands off of the ground.
  • Place your hands back on the ground and on an exhale, engage your core and push your body up and return to the starting position.
  • This counts as one rep. Complete three sets of 10 reps.
  • Beginners can also perform this move in a modified push-up position with both knees on the ground.