An Army Of Push-Up Variations

Published: 04th January 2012
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These push-up variations are great for making your bodyweight workouts more interesting and to place focus on working one particular muscle group over the other by making a few select tweaks:

Wide grip push-up. Muscles Worked = Central/Outer Chest. With a normal push-up your arms are approximately shoulder width apart and the focus is placed on working the chest muscles and arms. However, if you adopt a wider stance with your arms more than shoulder width apart you take the focus off the arm and shoulder muscles and place it back on the chest muscles. Wide grip push-ups tend to work the outer chest muscles more and are good for shaping and toning.

Narrow Grip Push Ups. Muscles Worked = Triceps. When you do a push-up with a narrow grip you will place a focus on exercising the inner chest and triceps more. For a narrow grip push-up move your arms closer together so that they are almost touching. You will find that your triceps will be required to work much harder than usual and you should feel a nice burn. Narrow grip push-ups also work well for shaping the inner part of the chest might otherwise have been neglected using basic pushups.

Isometric push-ups. An isometric push-up is basically where you statically hold the push-up position for around 30 seconds. So get into the push-up position and lower yourself halfway. Then hold this position for 30 seconds. It is almost like a stretch, but is called an isometric hold. You can also perform the pushup isometric hold during the top or bottom of the exercise.

Decline Push-Ups. Muscles worked = Lower Chest. To do a declined push-up place your feet on an elevated object such as a box or a chair. Your arms should be on the ground as usual. You will then lower your upper body towards the ground at a steeper angle than a normal push-up. This puts more of a focus on the lower part of the chest. It is always a good idea to mix up the widths of the push-up grips so that all areas of the chest muscles get in a decent workout.

Incline Push Ups. Muscles Worked = Upper Chest. Push-ups on an incline involve you raising your arms onto a platform such as a chair or a box. Your feet will be on the floor. Do the press up as usual but at this new angle. You will find that you will feel the exercise working your upper chest area with an incline push up. Upper chest muscles often get neglected so incline push ups are a great addition to your arsenal of bodyweight exercises.

Plyometric push-ups. To do a plyometric push-up simply do a normal push-up but when you come back up you use extra explosive strength to vault yourself up off the floor. So you are still in the push-up position - just in the air! The most advanced version of the pylometric push-up involves performing a clap mid-air. But simpler versions can just include only raising the hands off the ground and not the feet. Work your way up to the mid-air clap versions.

So now you have a good understanding of the major muscles grouped worked by the push-ups, as well a number of push up variations at your disposal in order to be more specific with which muscles you wish to train. It is now time to put them into action!


For even more bodyweight exercises for the chest, as well as an article on the best bicep exercises without weights, visit MuscleWithoutWeights.com - the site that teaches you how to build muscle from home.

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