Push-ups are awesome. that much we already know. They're one of the most iconic strength training exercises in existence. everyone from the armed forces to primary schools across the country uses them as a way of keeping healthy and building strength, but did you know that with the right variations, you can actually make push-ups even better than they already are?

It's hard to believe we know, and we won’t bore you too much with an introduction to what a push up is. The standard push-up is, of course, massively effective in getting results. Both long and short term, they're awesome. The amazing thing is, there's just so much you can do with them. Harde for easier, higher or lower, you can do just about anything to change them from slightly to completely; all it takes is a little variation.

Incline Push Ups

a person doing an incline push up outside

The decline push-up variation is a good starter for those who are beginning to get to grips with push-ups. The idea is to take a little bit of weight off the exercise and make it slightly easier whilst working the lower chest region and triceps still. It may not be as intense as some of the others, but it definitely can help as a warm up or cool down if done in moderation and help an overall better-sculpted chest group.

Simply make sure that the upper body is higher than the lower body throughout by placing your hands on something like a bench or a chair, and you’re good to go!

Decline Push Ups

a person performing a decline push up outside

The incline as you may have guessed is pretty much the exact opposite of the decline push-up variation in every way. It makes the exercise much more difficult and involves the upper chest and the shoulders very heavily to really help that overall upper body image.

Keep your legs are elevated above your chest by again placing them on a chair or bench, or something of a greater height than where your hands will be. that way, your pushing upwards and outwards, which changes the exercise completely and makes it one of the best exercises for your upper chest.

Wide Stance Push Ups

a person performing a widegrip push up

The wider the stance of your push-up, the more involvement your chest will have, from a general point of view. That's a result of you using your triceps less, and your chest takes more of the work as a result.

This can be a little bit easier or harder depending on where your strengths lie, but of course, with more chest involvement, there is less tricep or shoulder involvement, making it potentially a real challenge but good for a hard-hitting chest exercise.

Parallel Stance Push Ups

a person performing a parallel push up

This time, your hands are in a standard position, but they are directly in front of your shoulders. This moves the focus in the opposite way to the wide stance, and really brings your triceps into the mix. Your triceps should be weaker than your chest, so expect it to be a lot harder than standard push up variations!

Keep your hands in the right place the whole time, and make sure you aren't swaying as you move either. Your chest is still supporting you so it isn't a total tricep killer, but it will be a lot harder to do.

The Kong Push Up

a person performing a kong push up

This is one of the less common push up variations, but it's still amazingly effective and a real challenge too. Instead of changing the distance between your hands, you're changing the positioning of them entirely to change things up. It's better done on bars, but this will still work too.

Lower yourself until your chest is on the floor and your arms are bent at about 90 degrees, before pushing back upwards. This is one of, if not the most, difficult variations in this list and shouldn’t be underestimated. It will be much more effective for building your shoulders as well as your chest and is well worth the effort it takes if you can manage to master it.

The Triangle Push Up

person performing a triangle push up

Triangle push-up variations are also definitely in the top difficulty tier of exercising. They require far more involvement of your triceps rather than your chest or shoulders like the rest of the variations do. This makes it a real challenge due to the size difference of the muscles and the lack of other muscles to support the movement.

To perform, place your thumbs together and index fingers with your hands flat to the floor to create a triangular gap between the two hands. From there, push up as normal, but prepare to lose your balance and stability because of your chest not being used too much.

Clap Push Ups

person performing a clap push up

The basis of a clap push-up is essentially the same as a normal push up, however, has a slight twist. A plyometric twist to be specific. As the name suggests, the clap push-up variation is designed to have enough thrust from your upward push that the torso leaves the ground with enough time before coming back down for you to clap your hands together and still catch yourself. It's challenging, but it’s doable, and its an awesome strength builder!

Resistance Band Push Ups

a person performing a resistance band push up on a beach

For the last push-up variation on the list, we've added a little something extra, just for you. The resistance band push up takes things up a notch and adds even more resistance than you can do on your own, no matter which variation you go for. It makes the exercise substantially harder but of course, gives room for more muscle growth.

As a little bit of advice though, we'd recommend really paying attention to the time your reps are taking. Don't use the elastic nature of the band for momentum. Take your time and keep in control. your whole upper body will thank you for it.

Now build a workout!

To perform all of these exercises together for a successful workout, we’d recommend initially finding out how many you can do of each when performed back to back in the order written, either to failure or in 45 seconds and resting for 60 seconds between each exercise. Once you’ve got the number, you know how you’re improving every time you do it!

Overall, the push-up might well have way more to offer than you first thought, and that’s okay. It’s always better to add variation to your workouts to make sure you’re getting the best results.

A combination of these will really go a long way in improving your shoulders, chest and triceps and generally improving your upper body strength quite dramatically, without placing too much stress on your joints from unnatural weight additions.



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If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.