Push-ups are likely the most versatile of strength training exercises because they can be modified and tweaked to develop and focus on different muscles. The push-up is considered a compound exercise, because it requires movement and activity at numerous joints. Incorporating an array of push-ups into your training regimen will develop upper body strength and tone and improve the strength of your core.
The traditional push-up is performed by getting into a plank position with your hands placed slightly outside shoulder-width and fingers pointed straight ahead. Lower your body down towards the floor, allowing your elbows to flare out to the sides. Keep going down until your elbows are bent to about 90 degrees and then extend your arms to return to starting position.
The push-up primarily develops your chest, shoulders and triceps, with your chest providing most of the force development to overcome your body weight and lift you off the floor. Throughout the entire exercise, your abdominals also contract to prevent your torso from collapsing.
No matter if you're just starting out with strength training or are advanced, push-ups are beneficial. Here is an array of different types of push-ups to incorporate into your workouts. They're listed in order of difficulty, from easiest to most challenging.
Modified push-ups are a quality choice for those who have difficulty performing the traditional push-up. They're done with the same hand placement, but instead of being up on your toes, you set your knees onto the floor.
Incline push-ups are the next step up before moving onto traditional push-ups. You perform them from your toes, but your hands are placed onto an elevated surface, such as a bench or chair. This places more of your body weight onto your legs and decreases the amount of weight you have to push with your arms.
Decline push-ups require you to place your feet on an elevated surface and your hands on the floor, which increases the amount of weight placed on your arms. This makes the exercise a bit more difficult than traditional push-ups. It also targets your upper chest area.
The only difference between military push-ups and traditional push-ups is hand placement. Instead of your hands being placed outside the width of your shoulders, they're set right underneath your shoulders. When you lower down, your elbows remain alongside your torso as they bend instead of flaring out to the side. Military push-ups increase the focus onto your shoulders and triceps, while decreasing the demand placed on your chest.
Diamond push-ups place even more demand onto your triceps, increasing the difficulty of the exercise. Your hands are placed even closer together, directly underneath the center of your chest with your fingers creating a diamond shape. As you lower your body down to the floor, your elbows flare out to the sides.
One Leg Push-ups
One leg push-ups are performed like traditional push-ups, but you pick up and hold one foot inches up off the floor as you complete the assigned number of repetitions. This increases the demand of your core to prevent your torso from drooping. Be sure to switch off which foot you lift off the floor.
If you're looking for an incredibly challenging push-up, Spiderman push-ups will likely fit the bill. They start out with the same technique as the traditional push-up. Lower your body down to the floor. Instead of immediately pushing back up, hold yourself just inches off the floor. While in this position, lift your right leg up, bend your right knee and lift it out to the side. Bring your right knee towards your right elbow. Return your foot to the floor and rise up out of the push-up. On the next repetition, bring your left knee to meet your left elbow.