Push-ups are familiar to all of us. But did you know there are dozens of pushup variations?
Variations for all your “pushing” needs
Pushing is one of the three main resistance exercise types used when you bulking up. As you probably know, the other two are squatting and pulling.You can use bodyweight exercises like push-up variations to accomplish just about any of your “pushing” goals. After all, gymnasts get stronger than most other athletes and they stick to bodyweight exercises exclusively.
Let’s take a look at what’s involved in pushing.
What muscle groups do push-ups work?
Push-ups are compound exercises. That is, they don’t simply isolate a single muscle, they work several muscles in concert, and at least two joints. Compound exercises strengthen your body as a single unit, rather than as a collection of unrelated parts.
Pushing movements utilize your chest, shoulders, and triceps primarily. Your core musculature needs to be strong too, to orient and brace your midsection and spine as you perform the exercise. So, if you want to “work” any of these areas, there is a push-up variation that will serve you well.
Push-up variations for the chest
If you want to preferentially target the chest muscles, you should keep your hands wide apart during the push-up. Squeeze your chest at the top of the movement for some extra oomph.
You want to reduce the range of motion of your elbows and increase the range of motion in your shoulder.
Push-up variations that target the triceps
The triceps muscles are involved when you straighten your arm. To hit them, keep your elbows in during the movement. Try using the military push-up variation where your elbows rub against your ribcage during the movement.
Think about using the backs of your arms to power the move, rather than your chest.
Work the shoulders with push-ups
The shoulders are involved to a degree with every variation. But by moving your arms above the level of your shoulder joints, you’ll work them much harder.
Try elevating your feet while performing push-ups. This will simulate an overhead press. The higher your feet, the more stress you put on your deltoids.
Countless other variations
There are many, many more variations that are used regularly by successful fitness aficionados. But the three that I’ve listed above are a good place to start.Once you can do thirty (or so) regular push-ups, it is time to start mixing it up and adding some fun and effective variations into your workouts.
Don’t take the easy way out
When you’re ready to improve, there are ways to make push-ups (and other bodyweight exercises) more effective. You don’t need weightlifting chalk or other aids, you just need to work out hard!
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