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22 Push-up Variations for Beginners to Pros to Build Strength and Flexibility

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Are you feeling bored with the same old push-up routine, wondering if there’s more to this classic bodyweight exercise? Have you ever questioned whether variations could take your fitness game to the next level, targeting different parts of your chest, arms, and back muscles? Well, you’re not alone. Push-ups are a foundational exercise, but what if I told you there’s a world of variations waiting to be explored, unlocking the potential to sculpt not just your upper torso but your lower torso as well?

Push-up variations can transform your entire body workout, addressing muscle groups beyond the usual suspects. From diamond push-ups for triceps to wide grip for chest expansion, each variation brings a unique challenge, engaging your glutes, hamstrings, and quads in ways you might not have imagined.

And hey, if you’re thinking, “I’ve mastered the basics,” think again! This blog is your golden ticket, serving up a smorgasbord of push-up variations from beginner-friendly to advanced awesomeness beyond the regular push-up.

22 Different Push-Ups Variation

Pushups for Beginners (Easier Variation)

Wall Push-Up

Wall push-ups are a beginner-friendly variation of the classic pushup exercise. This modification involves performing pushups with the hands against a wall instead of the floor. Wall pushups are a good starting point for those who may initially find traditional pushups too challenging.

Wall Push-Up

How to DO it:

  1. Position yourself facing a wall, maintaining a shoulder-width stance. Ensure an appropriate distance from the wall, allowing your extended arms to comfortably reach shoulder height.
  2. Place your hands on the wall, with your wrists in line with your shoulders, and your fingers pointing forward.
  3. Maintain a straight line from head to heels, stabilising your core muscles for stability throughout the exercise.
  4. Initiate the movement by leaning forward, arching your arm crook, and bringing your chest toward the wall. Inhale during the descent of your upper body.
  5. Exhale as you push back to the initial position, straightening your arms. Focus on activating your chest, shoulders, and back arm muscles during the pushing phase.

Incline Push-Up

The incline push-up is a modified version of the traditional push-up exercise. In this variation, the hands are placed on a high surface, which creates an inclined angle. This modification makes the exercise easier than standard push-ups as it reduces the resistance from body weight. This makes it an ideal workout for beginners or individuals who are looking to build their upper torso strength.

incline push up

How to DO it:

  1. Choose a sturdy raised surface such as a bench, step, or low platform. Position yourself facing the high surface in a plank position.
  2. Place your hands on the raised surface slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Ensure your fingers are pointing forward or slightly turned outward.
  3. Create a straight line from head to heels, engage the core, and keep the upper back straight, feet together or hip-width apart.
  4. Initiate the movement by descending your chest towards the raised surface, arching your elbows in a controlled descent until your chest approaches the surface.
  5. Extend your arms to their maximum length without locking your hinge joints of the arm at the apex of the exercise. Push through your palms to straighten your arms and return to the starting position.
  6. Breathe in as you lower your chest and out as you push yourself back up to the starting position in sync with the movement.

Knee Push-Ups

Knee push-ups are a modified traditional push-up version, where you begin in a plank pose but decline your chest to the ground with your knees touching the floor. This modification reduces the lever length and overall body weight, making the exercise more accessible for beginners.

How to DO it:

  1. Begin on all fours, positioning your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Stretch your legs behind you and place your weight on your toes.
  2. While maintaining a head-to-knee straight line, gently lower your knees to the ground, ensuring your hands stay beneath your shoulders.
  3. Activate your core muscles to create a straight body line, preventing arching of the back or hip sag.
  4. Decline your chest to the floor by arching your elbows at approximately a 45-degree angle to your body.
  5. Push through your palms, extend your arms, and return to the initial position.
  6. Execute the movement at a controlled and steady pace for optimal effectiveness.

Intermediate Push-Ups Variations

Close Grip (Triceps) Push-Up

The close grip or tricep push-up, also known as the Triceps Push-Up, is a variation of the standard push-up that specifically targets the triceps muscles. In this exercise, your hands are positioned close together, directly under your shoulders.

Close Grip (Triceps) Push-Up

How to DO it:

  1. Start in a high plank position with your hands positioned close together directly under your shoulders.
  2. Keep your elbows tight to your sides as you lower your body towards the ground.
  3. Maintain a straight line from your head to your heels, engaging your core and glutes.
  4. Decline your chest as close to the ground as possible while holding your elbows tucked.
  5. Push back up to the starting position by fully extending your arms and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

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Negative Push-Up

The negative push-up focuses on building strength in your chest during the eccentric (lowering) phase of the push-up movement. It involves emphasising the controlled lowering of the body towards the ground rather than the pushing phase.

Negative Push-Up

How to DO it:

  1. Start in a high plank position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Make sure to keep your body straight from head to heels while performing the movement.
  3. Slowly and controlled, lower yourself until your chest touches the ground, emphasising the push-up’s lowering phase (eccentric contraction).
  4. Aim to lower your body as close to the ground as possible while maintaining proper form and control.
  5. Push back up to the starting position by fully extending your arms, focusing on the concentric (pushing) contraction, and repeat for the desired number of repeats.

Box Push-Up

The box push-up is a modified version of the standard push-up that reduces the load and intensity by utilising a high surface, such as a box or step. It is a beginner-friendly variation that can help build strength and proper push-up form.

How to DO it:

  1. Place your hands on a sturdy box or high surface.
  2. Descend your chest towards the box, keeping a straight line from head to heels.
  3. Push back up, fully extending your elbows.
  4. Maintain a controlled pace and engage your chest and triceps.
  5. Gradually progress to more challenging variations as your strength improves.

Elevated Pike Push-Up

The elevated pike push-up is an advanced pushup variation that primarily targets the shoulders, upper chest, and triceps. In this exercise, your body is positioned in an inverted V shape with your feet uplifted and your hands on the ground.

Elevated Pike Push-Up

How to DO it:

  1. Start in a pike position with your hands placed on an elevated surface, such as a box or step, and your feet on the ground, forming an inverted V shape.
  2. Keep your arms straight and your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  3. Lower your head towards the ground by bending your elbows, maintaining control and stability.
  4. Push back up to the starting position by fully extending your arms, and then repeat for the desired number of reps.
  5. Engage your core and maintain a stable pike position throughout the movement.

Push-Up with Single leg Raise

The push-up with a single leg raise is a challenging variation that targets the chest, triceps, core, and glute muscles. In this exercise, you perform a push-up while raising one leg off the ground.

Push-Up with Single leg Raise

How to DO it:

  1. Start in a high plank position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Ensure that your body is aligned in a straight line, from your head to your heels.
  3. Dip your chest towards the ground by bending your elbows while simultaneously raising single leg off the ground.
  4. Push back up to the starting position, fully extending your arms, and lower your raised leg.
  5. Repeat the movement, alternating legs with each repetition, and maintain proper form and stability throughout the exercise

Yoga Push-Up

The yoga push-up, also called the Chaturanga Dandasana or Four-Limbed Staff Pose, is a fundamental posture commonly practised in yoga. It is often used as a transitional movement within a yoga flow or as part of the Sun Salutation sequence.

Yoga Push-Up

How to DO it:

  1. Start in a high plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders, fingers spread wide, and your body in a straight line.
  2. Engage your core and lower your body towards the ground by bending your elbows, keeping them close to your sides.
  3. Stop when your upper arms are parallel to the ground, hovering just above the floor.
  4. Hold the pose for a breath or two, maintaining a straight line from your head to your heels.
  5. Push back up to the high plank position, extending your arms fully.
  6. Perform the same motion repeatedly for the desired number of times.

Staggered Push-Up

The staggered push-up is a modified version of the classic push-up that involves placing one hand higher or lower than the other. This results in an uneven distribution of weight, which makes the exercise more challenging and engages the muscles in a unique way. This variation is an effective way to enhance overall upper body strength.

Staggered Push-Up

How to DO it:

  1. Start in the standard push-up position with your hands positioned a little beyond the width of your shoulders.
  2. Place one hand slightly higher than the other, approximately 6-12 inches (15-30 cm) apart.
  3. Make sure to keep your body in a straight line from head to toe, engaging your core muscles and maintaining a neutral spine throughout the exercise.
  4. Lower your body towards the ground by bending your arms while keeping your elbows close to your sides. Aim to dip your chest as close to the ground as possible without touching it. Maintain control and avoid any excessive sagging or arching of your back.
  5. Push your hands forcefully and straighten your arms to lift your body back to the starting position. Ensure your core stays engaged, maintaining a straight line from head to toe throughout the entire movement.
  6. After completing the desired number of repetitions, switch the position of your hands. The hand that was higher should now be lower, and vice versa. This helps ensure balanced muscle development by working both sides of your upper torso.

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As you progress to more from easiest to hardest exercises, don’t overlook the importance of doing it under the guidance of a certified personal trainer. PTSPOT is your trusted partner in focusing on your fitness goals and uplifting your performance.

Don’t hesitate—take the leap and contact us today to embark on a transformative fitness experience.

Advanced Push-Up Variations

Plyometric (Clapping) Push-Up

Plyometric push-ups, also known as clap pushups, are an explosive variation of the standard pushup. This dynamic exercise involves pushing off the ground with enough force to allow for a momentary clap in mid-air before returning to the starting position.

Plyometric (Clap) Push-Up

How to DO it:

  1. Begin in a standard pushup position with hands placed slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Decline your chest towards the ground by bending your arm crook, keeping a straight line from head to heels.
  3. Push off the ground with maximum force, aiming to leave the ground with your hands.
  4. While in mid-air, rapidly clap your hands together before preparing to land.
  5. Land back in the starting position with soft elbows to absorb the impact. Immediately go ahead to the next repetition.

One-Arm Push-Up

The one-arm push-up is a challenging variation that requires strength and stability. In this exercise, the practitioner lowers and raises their body using only a single arm, intensifying the workload on the working arm and engaging the core for balance.

one arm push up

How to DO it:

  1. Position your feet wider than shoulder-width apart to enhance stability.
  2. Place one hand behind your back or on your hip, emphasising the reliance on the working arm.
  3. Descend your chest towards the ground, keeping the body straight and the working arm close to your body.
  4. Push through the palm of the working hand to return to the first position.
  5. Maintain a stable body position throughout, keeping your core engaged to prevent rotation.

Spiderman Push-Up

Spiderman push-ups add a dynamic twist to the standard push-ups by incorporating knee-to-elbow movements. This variation engages the core, obliques, and hip flexors and builds strength.

Spiderman Push-Up

How to DO it:

  1. Perform a standard push-up, lowering your chest towards the ground.
  2. As you lower, bring one knee towards the corresponding arm joints, engaging the obliques.
  3. Push back up to the starting point while returning your knee to the initial position.
  4. Repeat the movement, alternating the knee-to-elbow movement with each repetition.
  5. Execute the exercise in a controlled and fluid motion to maximise benefits and maintain balance.

Archer Push-Up

The archer push-up is an advanced variation of the push-up exercise that primarily targets the chest, shoulders, triceps, and core muscles. It involves a unilateral movement pattern, utilising a single arm while the other arm is positioned wider and provides support.

Archer Push-Up

How to DO it:

  1. Start in a high hover position with your hands wider than shoulder-width apart, one hand positioned slightly wider, and the other hand positioned slightly closer to your body.
  2. Keep your fingers pointed forward or slightly turned out.
  3. Shift most of your bodyweight onto one arm while maintaining a straight line from your head to your heels.
  4. Descent your chest towards the ground by bending the elbow of the arm that is carrying most of the weight, while keeping the other arm straight and providing support.
  5. Push back up to the starting position by fully extending your arm, focusing on squeezing your chest, triceps, and shoulder of the working arm. 

Diamond Push-Up

Diamond push-ups, also known as triangle push-ups, target the triceps and inner chest. In this variation, the hands are positioned close together under the chest, forming a diamond shape.

diamond push up

How to DO it:

  1. Press your palms together just below your torso so that your fingers form a diamond shape.
  2. Start with your head in a straight line and your heels in a conventional pushup position.
  3. Arch your arm crook so they are close to your body as you move your chest to the ground.
  4. Push through the palms of your hands to return to the initial position, emphasising the triceps.
  5. Ensure proper engagement of back arm muscle and inner chest throughout the movement for optimal effectiveness.

Increase your reps, unleash the hardcore push-up beast and arm up your push-up game! Master challenging variations with PTSPOT’s expert guidance – the key to your fitness success.

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Scorpion Push-Up

The scorpion push-up is an advanced variation that combines a standard push-up with a dynamic leg movement. It involves lifting one leg and rotating the body, adding a challenging element to the exercise.

Scorpion Push-Up

How to DO it:

  1. Start with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart in the usual pushup position.
  2. Keeping your body on a straight level from head to heels, move your chest to the floor.
  3. Raise one leg off the ground and turn your body to face the other side while you push yourself back up.
  4. After lowering the raised leg, take your body back to its initial position.
  5. With each repetition, switch between lifting one leg and rotating the body.

Weighted Vest Push-Up

The weighted vest push-up is a challenging variation of the push-up exercise that adds extra resistance by wearing a weighted vest. This variation helps to increase the intensity and difficulty of the push-up, targeting the chest, shoulders, triceps, and core muscles.

Weighted Vest Push-Up

How to DO it:

  1. Put on a weighted vest and ensure it is securely fastened.
  2. Start in a high plank position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  3. Maintain a straight line from your head to your heels, engaging your core and glutes.
  4. Move your chest towards the ground by bending your elbows while keeping them pointed slightly outwards.
  5. Aim to lower your chest as close to the ground as possible while maintaining proper form and control.
  6. Push back up to the starting position by fully extending your arms, focusing on squeezing your chest, shoulders, and triceps.

Decline Push-Up

Decline push-ups are performed with the feet raised on a stable surface, such as a bench or step. This variation increases the challenge by emphasising the upper chest and front of the shoulders.

decline push up

How to DO it:

  1. Position your feet on a stable surface, elevating them above the level of your hands.
  2. Assume a standard pushup position with hands on the ground slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  3. Descend your chest towards the ground by bending your arm joints, maintaining a straight body line.
  4. Push through the palms of your hands to return to the starting point, emphasising the upper chest.
  5. Engage the core and maintain stability throughout the movement, focusing on the uplifted position for added challenge.

Hindu Push-Up

The Hindu push-up, also known as the Hanuman Push-Up, is a dynamic exercise that combines elements of traditional push-ups with yoga-inspired movement.

Hindu Push-Up

How to DO it:

  1. Start in a downward-facing dog position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Lower your upper body towards the ground by folding your elbows while simultaneously shifting your weight forward and lowering your hips towards the ground.
  3. As your chest approaches the ground, arch your back, lift your head and shoulders, and continue into an upward-facing dog position.
  4. Push back into the downward-facing dog position by reversing the movement, lifting your hips and pushing through your arms.
  5. Repeat the flow for the desired number of repetitions.

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Single Arm Push-Up on Knees

The single-arm push-up on Knees is a challenging variation that targets the chest, triceps, and core muscles, focusing on one side of the body. In this modified push-up, you perform an exercise while balancing on one arm and keeping your knees on the ground for stability.

Single Arm Push-Up on Knees

How to DO it:

  1. Start in a high plank position with your knees on the ground, shoulder-width apart.
  2. Position your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, with your fingers pointed forward.
  3. Shift your weight to one arm and decline your chest towards the ground, keeping your elbow close to your side.
  4. Push back up to the starting position, fully extending your arm, and repeat on the other side.
  5. Maintain a straight line from your head to your knees throughout the movement and engage your core for stability.

Superman Push-Up

The superman push-up is an advanced variation of the standard push-up that incorporates an explosive movement to lift both the upper body and lower body off the ground simultaneously, resembling Superman’s flying position. It challenges the chest, shoulders, core, and lower back, requiring explosive strength and coordination.

Superman Push-Up

How to DO it:

  1. Begin in a standard push-up position with hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart, maintaining a straight line from head to heels.
  2. Lower your chest towards the ground in a controlled manner, keeping your core engaged throughout the descent.
  3. Push back up explosively, lifting both your upper and lower body off the ground simultaneously, creating a flying Superman position.
  4. Extend your arms forward and lift your legs backward, reaching for maximum extension while keeping your body parallel to the ground.
  5. Descend back to the ground with a soft landing, curve your elbows and knees, and repeat the movement for the desired number of explosive repetitions.

Fingertip Push-Up

The fingertip push-up challenging exercise targets the chest, shoulders, triceps, and biceps, engaging the muscles in the hands and fingers. To achieve impressive results, one needs to have enhanced wrist and finger strength as well as stability.

Fingertip Push-Up

How to DO it:

  1. Initiate a high plank posture by spreading your fingers apart and opening your hands somewhat wider than shoulder width.
  2. Transfer your weight to your fingertips and plant them firmly on the floor, replacing your flat palms with your fingertips.
  3. As you engage your core and glutes, maintain a straight body line from your head to your heels.
  4. Maintaining control and stability in your fingers, bend your elbows to lower your chest towards the ground.
  5. Pull yourself back up to the beginning position while fully extending your arms, pausing briefly when your chest is close to the floor.

Unleash Your Fitness Power with PTSPOT

Enhance your fitness journey with a range of push-up variations, each designed to provide a distinct challenge for sculpting and strengthening your upper chest muscles. Whether you’re just starting or an advanced fitness enthusiast, incorporating these exercises into your routine adds diversity and effectiveness to your workouts. Embrace the challenge, surpass your limits, and relish the transformative advantages of these dynamic push-up variations.

Accelerate your fitness progress and reach your goals more efficiently with the support of PTSPOT. Connect with us now to arrange a consultation with one of our professional personal trainers. Embrace the journey, push your boundaries, and let us be your ally in unlocking the transformative benefits of these dynamic push-up exercises. Take the initial stride towards a stronger, and healthier version of yourself.

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