3 Push-Up Variations To Add To Chest Day
Push-ups might just be the world’s most convenient workout. You can do them anywhere, anytime not to mention they deliver results! We asked Coach Andy for her favorite push-up variations to keep your bodyweight workouts interesting, challenging and effective.
But first, let’s check your form: it’ll help you execute these variations safely.
A great push-up starts with a great plank. You need to generate lots of tension in the core, including your abs, glutes and quads. Think about squeezing your glutes (“making apples, not apple sauce”, as Andy would say!) and contacting the quads by driving the toes and balls of the foot into the ground. Your wrists and fingertips should fall just beneath the shoulders. Think about rooting your hands into the ground.
As you lower your body, visualize a piece of newspaper beneath your hands and imagine trying to slowly rip the newspaper from top to bottom by screwing your hands into the ground. This creates an “arrow” position with the torso and arms. Avoid creating a “T” with the arms, which means the shoulders are not generating good stability and strength.
Got it? Great! Now let’s push it up to the next level.
1. Hand Release Push-Up
To perform a hand release push-up, lower your body all the way down and lift your hands completely off the ground by squeezing your shoulder blades.
We love this variation because it ensures that you’re completing the entire range of motion in the exercise. It's also a great way to build up your push-up as you can typically do more reps because you’re removing the “hold” in the middle of the rep. This is also a great alternative to knee push-ups.
2. Renegade Row to Push-Up
You’ll need a pair of dumbbells for this variation. Hold a dumbbell in each hand in a push-up position. Lift one dumbbell by rowing the weight up and squeezing your back muscles. Repeat on the other side and then complete a push-up.
This variation is a great way to increase overall output of the chest and triceps. This is done by actively engaging the “mirrored” muscles, your back and biceps.
3. Pushup to T Rotation
In this variation, you complete the first half (lowering) of a traditional push-up as normal. As you rise, open up one arm and rotate it toward the ceiling while dropping your heels to the side.
This exercise will help you learn how to generate more power in your push-up. It will also build strength and stability in both your core and shoulders by moving to one side of the body.
When Andy’s looking for push-up variations, she avoids those that move the grip around—like a wide grip or diamond push-up, as these variations can compromise stability. She prefers variations that reinforce the full body plank variation, which is why she’s more likely to recommend one of our variations above than have you do push-ups on your knees.
These three variations reinforce a great push-up position and will improve your performance in your traditional push-up. So, let’s get moving…and don’t forget to push yourself!