Most of us know how to do a standard push-up, but did you know there are a range of push up exercises that can tone your entire body, not just your arms? Most of them don’t require any equipment. They take up hardly any room so you can do them anywhere. There is a push up style for everyone, regardless of fitness level. As you master 10-15 repetitions of one type of push-up, move on to the next to challenge yourself and tone more than just your arms. You can do this!!
1. Wall push-up
Stand facing a wall and place your hands on the wall at chest height, shoulder width apart. Walk your feet back a few steps so that you are leaning into the wall. Inhale, bend your elbows out to the side, and lower your chest towards the wall. Exhale as you straighten your arms back up.
2. Modified push-up
Drop to your knees and keep your back straight. With your arms shoulder width apart, inhale as you lower your chest to the ground and bend your elbows out to your sides. As you exhale, press back up putting weight in every part of your hands.
3. Desk/table push-up
With your hands on a desk or high table shoulder width apart, walk your feet back so your body is in a 45 degree angle with the ground. Make sure to keep your abs strong as you lower your chest towards the table. Exhale as you press back up to straight arms.
4. Diamond push-up
This push-up style will tone the backs of your arms, the triceps. Beginners should start on their knees as done in the modified push-up, while more experienced exercisers can try performing this one on their toes. Instead of placing your hands under your shoulders, bring them together under your chest in a diamond shape. Lower and press up as you keep your belly tight and back straight!
5. Wide push-up
This push-up variation will challenge you further and work more into your chest and back muscles. Widen your hand stance so that they are wider than your shoulders. Lower and lift keeping your back straight throughout the movement.
6. Military push-up
Advance to this push-up to work your abs at the same time as your upper body. Begin on your hands and toes, like a plank pose. Inhale as you lower your chest to the ground. Exhale to press back up to straight arms. Keep your core strong during the push-up.
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7. Modified yoga push-up
The yoga push-up will tone the front and back of your arms, shoulders, core, and back all at once. On your knees, with a straight back, place your hands under your shoulders. As you lower your body down to the ground, bend your elbows straight back rather than out to the sides. This focuses a lot of the work onto the backs of your arms.
8. Yoga push-up
Once you’ve mastered the modified yoga push-up, challenge yourself with the full version! Instead of doing them on your knees, come all the way up to your toes with straight legs and a straight back.
9. Decline push-up
This style of push-up requires more ab strength than most. Place your feet on something stable 16-18 inches above the ground (chair, table, bench, etc.). Perform your military push-up in this position, paying extra attention to your straight back. These are quite a challenge, so work up to them!
10. Pike push-up
Starting in a similar position as the Downward dog push-up, widen your stance by placing your hands slightly wider than your shoulders. Inhale and lower your upper body towards the ground by bending your elbows out to your sides instead of straight back. Exhale as you press up to straighten your arms. This position lets you target more of your shoulder and back muscles than a standard push-up.
11. Downward dog triceps push-up
Begin in a Downward dog yoga position sticking your hips in the air and pressing your heels into the ground. Inhale as you bend your elbows straight back, lowering your upper body towards the ground. Exhale and press back up to straight arms. This push-up targets your shoulders, backs of your arms, abs, and glutes.
12. Push-up rotations
Work your arms, abs, and obliques with this one! Perform a military style push-up and rotate onto one arm and the sides of your feet into a side plank after one repetition. Hold for a count of one, then rotate over to the other side for another side plank.
13. One leg push-up
This style will add an extra challenge for your abs! Begin in your military style push-up position. Before lower down for a push-up, raise one leg straight into the air about 6 inches off of the ground. When you are halfway through your repetitions, switch to the other leg.
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14. Uneven push-up
This one is tough but worth it for toned arms and abs! You’ll need something mobile that is raised off of the ground- a medicine ball is preferable, but you can also use a sport ball (soccer ball, volley ball, etc.). In full push-up position with your hands a bit wider than shoulder width apart, place one hand on the ball and one hand on the ground. Lower down for a push-up, letting your elbows bend out to your sides. After you press up from one push-up, roll the ball over to your other hand and perform another. Keep alternating the ball from hand to hand to complete your set.
15. Side to side push-up
This style will challenge all of your arm muscles as well as target your chest and abs. Begin in full military style push-up position. Before lowering down for a push-up, step one hand out wide past your shoulders. Perform your push-up with most of your weight on that hand. After you press back up, walk that hand back under your shoulder. This time, step the other hand out. Continue alternating hands.
16. Canyon push-up
This challenging variation of the decline push-up will work your chest and biceps. Place your hands onto a raised object on the ground. You can use yoga blocks, a stack of books, or any other short platform. The higher the object is off of the ground, the more challenging this will be. With one hand on each object shoulder width apart, lower your body into a push-up position. Adding in these props will allow you to lower your chest further to the ground than a typical push-up.
17. Staggered hands push-up
This push-up will test your balance, which will make you challenge your ab muscles and arm muscles! And lead to a tighter, more toned body! Start with one hand down by your ribs and the other extended up past your shoulder. Lower down into your push-up and press back up, being sure to keep your belly button pulled tightly against your spine. After one repetition alternate your hand position.
18. Isometric push-ups
These push-ups are very similar to military style push-ups but they have an extra challenge that will lead to lean, defined arm muscles. As you lower down, go very lowly for a count of 5. Press back up slowly as well, straightening your arms at a count of 5.
19. Spiderman push-up
This push-up style will work your obliques, too! Starting in normal military style push-up form, as your lower your body to the ground bring one knee up and out towards your same-side elbow. As you press back up, place your leg back in its starting position. Alternate legs with each repetition.
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20. Shoulder blade push-up
Perfect your posture by working the tinier muscles in your back with this push-up variation. Begin in a plank position, or the up position of your push-up. Instead of moving through your elbows, keep your arms straight as you squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold for a count of one, then lift through your back as you pull your shoulder blades apart. Repeat that movement for each repetition.
21. Sliding push-ups
You’ll need some paper plates for this fun move! Sliding push-ups work more of the front of your arms and your chest. Place one plate under each hand, placing your hands shoulder width apart. Slide your hands out past your shoulders and lower down into a push-up. Slide that hand back under your shoulder on the up movement.
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