Push-ups are perhaps the single most basic, renowned and effective of all bodyweight exercises. The push-up, or press-up, also happens to be one of the best movements for upper body (chest, shoulder and tricep) development, muscle building and conditioning. There are many push-up variations practiced the world over and they all target the major upper body muscles as well as the core to some extent. Now we’re going to look at a few that will challenge you. By focusing on different muscle groups you can realise greater strength, interested? Then read Push-Ups: 5 Variations That Will Make You Stronger!
1. Strict / Medium Width (Military) Push-Up
Place your hands shoulder-width apart with elbows tucked in towards the side of your torso, keep your feet close together and your whole body aligned with no arching of your back. The chest and shoulder muscles receive predominant use here while your core also gets stimulated through keeping your whole body straight and aligned.
At full extension, your palms should be in line with your shoulders in such a way that your hands are perpendicular to the ground. At this point, make sure to push hard into the ground to get that squeeze on your pectoral (chest) muscles as well as your deltoids (shoulders).
2. Wide Arm Push-Up
For this push up variation, as the name suggests, your hands are placed wider apart than the normal/military push-up width above. As you widen your hand position, the focus will become more evident on your chest and arms, but the feel will be almost entirely different!
3. Narrow Width (Diamond) Push-Up
This variation targets your triceps and chest muscles primarily. Since your hands are narrow, keep your feet apart wider to keep your body balanced.
Keep your hands together in such a way that you form a diamond shape with your left and right index fingers and thumbs. Lower yourself down so that you are almost touching your chest to the floor then push up with force until full extension of your arms is reached.
4. Spiderman Push-Up
This is where the fun begins and the challenge increases, of course!
Similar to the military push-ups regarding starting point and hand placement, when you lower yourself down however you kick out one leg at a time so that your knee touches the elbow on that particular side (so right knee to your right elbow and left knee to your left elbow). This resembles Spiderman climbing buildings, hence the name!
This will give your core a great deal of stimulation as it also works your hips and obliques.
5. Pike Push-Ups
Unlike the other four variations above, in the Pike push up, you start from a standing position. First, keep your palms flat on the floor and your legs straight. Now, push your hands down aiming to get onto your toes.
Push down and up in a similar manner as the military push-up. This targets your shoulders, calf muscles as well as your hamstrings.