15 New Ways to Switch Up Your Pushup

The beauty of the pushup is that you can do it anywhere, anytime. It’s a great all-encompassing exercise that hits not only your arms and chest but also gets a burn going in your core. The only downside is that busting out the same old up-and-down routine day after day can start to feel tedious. So it might be time to switch it up with a few new challenging moves. You’ll feel more motivated, diversify the muscle groups you’re hitting, and build muscle and strength in places your average-Joe pushup wouldn’t even dream of touching. We tapped Anthony J. Yeung C.S.C.S. and strength coach at PUSH Private Fitness to see how many different variations he could come up with.

1) Wide-grip pushup

Target area: chest.

Start from a  normal pushup position but spread your hands wider than shoulder length. This will force your chest to pick up the brunt of the work from your triceps and shoulders.

2) Narrow-grip pushup

Target area: triceps.

Do normal a normal pushup with your hands just a few inches apart from each other underneath your chest.

3) T-pushup

Target area: full-body workout.

Start from the pushup position. Take one hand off the ground and raise it straight up in the air (making a T-shape out of your body). Keep your eyes locked on your raised hand. Repeat for your other side. Add dumbbells to the routine to increase the intensity of the workout. “T-pushups hammer your entire upper body,” says Yeung. “Not only are you targeting your chest, but you’re also strengthening your shoulders, opening up your thoracic spine [midback], and building rotational power through your core.”

4) Single-leg pushup

Target area: intensifies work on upper body and core.

Lift one leg up off the ground and do a set. Switch legs on the next set.

5) Feet-elevated pushups

Target area: intensifies work on upper body and core.

Do a normal pushup, but with your feet elevated on a stable platform like a box or bench. The higher the platform, the more you’ll work your shoulders, chest, core, and scapular stabilisers (the muscles that connect your neck, mid-back, and shoulders).

6) Single-arm medicine ball pushup

Target area: arms, pecs, and shoulders.

Using one arm, do a set on a small medicine ball. Do the next set with the other arm. This routine is a great stability challenge that forces you to rely on more than just brute strength.

7) Pushup with arm reach

Target area: arms

Using slideboards or Valslides, slide one arm out in front of you as you lower your body until your elbow is locked straight. Switch arms with each rep.

8) Atomic pushup

Target area: chest and core.

Place your feet in a suspension trainer so that they are elevated. Do a pushup and then bring your knees to your chest. “Atomic pushups hammer  your chest and core while slashing fat,” says Yeung. “Your entire body is moving, which makes it a metabolically demanding exercise. Great for cardio days and as a finisher.”

9) One-arm pushup

Target area: arms and chest.

Keeping your feet in a wider than a normal pushup position, use just one arm to do a pushup. Keep your elbow close to your body.

“Do one-arm pushups just to be a badass. Your upper-body strength and size will soar,” says Yeung. “If you can’t do them from the floor, do them from a bar in a Smith machine or power rack. Gradually lower the height of the bar as you get stronger.”

10) Clap pushup

Target area: chest.

At the peak of your pushup, push yourself up off the ground and quickly clap in midair. The fast jolting force of clap pushups will help you develop explosive power while also bulking up your pecs for a superhero chest.


11) 1.5 pushup

Target area: chest.

From the bottom of a rep, push up halfway, then descend and push up again. “To build a bigger chest, you need longer ‘time under tension’ [TUT]— the length of time your muscles are working,” says Yeung. “By adding an extra half of a pushup, you’ll increase your TUT, build more size, and pump your muscles.”

12) Spiderman pushup

Target area: core

Do a normal pushup but raise one knee toward the elbow of the same side as you rise (like Spiderman climbing a wall). Switch knees with each rep.

13) Eccentric pushups

Do a normal pushup but descend slowly (4 to 5 seconds) and rise normally. “By slowly lowering yourself, you will skyrocket your TUT and flood your muscles with blood,” says Yeung.

14) Pike pushups

Target area: shoulders.

From the pushup position, lift your hips as high as they can go while keeping your legs and back straight with the top of your head pointing downward (you want to make a triangle shape out of your body). Push your body up and down, activating your shoulders.

15) Band pushups

Target area: chest and arms.

Run a resistance band through each of the palms of your hands and wrap it around your back to create extra resistance and force to work against. Maintain normal pushup form as you do each set but focus on being as explosive as possible as you move up against the band.


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