At the time, all I was doing was regular push-ups. So, a lot of my friends and I weren’t making any progress. As it turns out, as we lost weight, the push-ups became a lot easier (duh lol), but because of that, we weren’t getting any stronger.
It turns out, all I had to do was raise my feet.
In a 2011 study by Ebben WP et al., 23 participants performed six different types of push-up variations (1).
The researchers were able to determine the percentage of body weight the participants were lifting when performing the push-ups.
- Modified (knee) Push-ups: 49% of body weight
- Regular push-ups: 64% of body weight
- Feet elevated on a 12-inch box: 70% of body weight
- Feet elevated on a 24-inch box: 74% of body weight
- Hands elevated on a 12-inch box: 55% of body weight
- Hands elevated on a 24-inch box: 41% of body weight
Now that you know this, once you reach a certain level, you’ll have a better idea of how to progress and keep getting stronger.
Below are some of my favorites in case you are ready for a challenge!
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1. Dive Bomber
- The dive bomber push-up is a variation where flexibility plays a significant role. The dive bomber push-up hits your chest, core, triceps, shoulders, back, and even your hips and hamstrings. Not only that, but one rep feels like forever.
2. Single-Leg Push-Up
- This intermediate-level push-up variation it’s excellent at hitting the usual muscles worked by other variations. But what I love about the single-leg push up is the emphasis it puts on the core. The core has to work extremely hard to stabilize the body.
3. Push-Up Jacks
- Push-up jacks are the most difficult of the variations on this list. This thing suuuucckkks in a good way. Not only does it work the chest, shoulders, and triceps, but it also hammers the core, and on top of that, it will shit on your heart rate.
4. Archer Push-Up
- This variation puts the bulk of the work on one side of your body while also hammering your core as it tries to keep your body straight. Kind of like an assisted one arm push up. If you aren’t strong enough to perform this exercise, do not worry about it. I GOT YOU! You can use either 1. take a wider stance (this puts less emphasis on your core) or 2. Do them from your knees. Simple as that.
5. Plyometrics Push-Up
- Plyometrics push-ups are a great way to develop power and explosiveness. It also adds the benefit of elevating your heart rate. I’ve been doing them for years and will continue to them.
6. Spider-Man Push-Up
- The spider-man push-up engages the core a lot more than the standard push-up. The fact that you only have three points of contact when you are moving your leg forward will make your core burn. Sexy abs, here we come.
7. Push-Up to Mountain Climber
- This variation is hard. Not only will these push-ups target your chest, shoulders, and triceps, but the addition of the mountain climbers will hit your core HARD and elevate your heart rate like you wouldn’t believe. Start by doing just one mountain climber instead of two (like in the video) and work your way up as you get stronger. Just make sure you have a mop nearby. You are going to need it.
8. Pike Push-Up
- The pike push-up is a great exercise that helps you build shoulder strength as well as helping you improve your core stability.
9. Push-Up to Toe Touch
- The Push-up to toe touch is another variation that will hammer your core. Don’t let this variation full you. It looks easy until you realize this kind of a one arm/one leg plank on steroids.
I hope you liked these push up variations. Always push yourself. Increase the intensity of your workouts and strive to get better. You got this. Now get on the floor and give me 20! Damn, I just had a flashback.