A few months ago I put together a push up tutorial for beginners, followed by six bodyweight variations for you to try. I trust that you have been practicing morning, noon and night since then, and that you’re finally ready for the next installment.
Well today is your lucky day; today I have another six variations for you to try. Many of these are pretty advanced, so if you’re finding them difficult GOOD – they should be. So let’s get into it.
Decline push ups
These are great for the shoulders, chest and triceps. Start by kneeling in front of a bench or stable chair. Place your feet on the bench behind you and your hands a bit wider than shoulder-width apart; lift yourself up until your body forms a solid plank. Lower yourself down as if performing a regular push up – you’ll notice a lot more shoulder involvement than in a regular push up. Press back up through the palms of your hands – that’s your first rep done! This variation does require a lot of core involvement, and is not a great idea for anyone with lower back weakness.
Slow push ups
Time under tension is a technique that focuses on keeping your muscles under constant strain, helping to increase strength and growth. And because the movement is so slow and controlled, there’s no hiding bad technique. Here I’m going down for the count of five, and up for a single count, but you can mix it up – down for two, up for two, down for six, up for four etc.
Push up with pulse
This is a great little one for teaching you about control. Perform a regular push up, then on your next push up, extend your arms only halfway (your elbows will still be bent) before lowering yourself again. Your third push up will be a regular push up, your fourth a pulse. Continue this rhythm.
Single leg push ups
By narrowing your base of support, you place your upper body under more strain and increase the difficulty. Start in a regular push up position, then lift one leg so it runs parallel to the ground with your foot flexed. Complete half of your reps then (without resting) switch legs.
Push up with Swiss ball tucks
This is one of my all time favourite push up variations!! Really works those lower abs and adds extra stress to your shoulders, so please be aware that this variation is probably not for you if you have a weak lower back or any shoulder instability. Begin by kneeling in front of the Swiss ball, then take the weight through your hands and place your feet on the ball behind you, resting at the bottom of your shins/across the top of your feet. Use your core (lower abs) to pull the ball up towards your chest, bending your knees but keeping your back flat. Roll back out and perform a push up. Repeat. Please forgive my flat Swiss ball.
Push up with medicine ball roll
Another of my faves, this one recruits a whole lotta core (which kinda take away from the chest burn). This is an advanced move though, so keep that in mind please! Start in regular push up position, but with one hand firmly pressing down on the medicine ball. Perform one push up, then roll the ball from one hand to the other, catching it under your shoulder on the other side. Perform another push up. Keep going!
So there you have it – my top six! Which one is your fave? Or isn’t it on any of the lists?
Hit me up and let me know!