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13 Push Up Variations [VIDEO]

Vary Your Push-ups for Faster Results

This is all about push-ups. It's one of those gym exercises that can turn from a dreaded obstacle to something that is nearly a craft in and of itself.

With 13 varieties here, you can start easy, working one set of 8 - 10 reps a day.

If you like doing 100 push-ups every day, just skip the modified option and there's still enough variety here to keep you from getting bored and your muscles from adapting to the routine (which they will, very quickly).

Following this video is a break down of each variation including the time marker so you can find it more easily.

Standard Push-ups

Really nothing to say about this. If you're in good health but don't do much core work, start here. Watch your hand positions. Keep your abs engaged (not contracted) to keep your body aligned. Hint: If your butt is sticking up, your abs aren't engaged properly.

Modified Standard Push-Ups

00:40

Modified push-ups aren't just for beginners. If you are dealing with a back injury, boned density loss, or any type of spinal deviations, this is the place to start. This isn't being a wimp, it's cautionary until your muscles are used to the process. Protect yourself!

Wide-Grip Push-Up

1:10

Targets more of the shoulder girdle. Again, if you are dealing with shoulder, back or pectoral muscle recovery, don't attempt these until you can do three sets of regular push-ups.

Diamond Push-up

1:40

Your hands are in direct alignment with your breastbone and turned inwards. Notice at the start, the model's thumbs are touching and the inner line from his perspective looks like a "W". He will later turn his hands in even more, getting closer to creating a diamond pattern in the middle that the exercise was named after. So you can see, there are subtle levels of difficulty within the exercise.

Feet-Elevated Push-up

2:16

This is a standard push-up but with your feet higher than the hands. The higher your feet, the more difficult the push-up. Take note that the model's body is level at full extension.

Keep your abs engaged at all times or you risk over-arching your back on the drop.

Hindu Push-up

2:57

Yoga enthusiasts will recognize the Downward Dog starting position but with feet close together. The movement is a drop and scoop up (like Cobra) with a slight pause before returning to the starting position.

You can work up levels to not pausing and without touching the ground. This will add more intensity to your aerobic fitness, giving it an endurance slant without being isometric.

Staggered Push-Up

3:33

One hand at standard shoulder level, the other hand is down the rib cage, just above the hip, hand turned in slightly to aid in balance. This type of asynchronous work ensures you are not favoring one side over the other during a standard push-up.

Plyo/Clap Push-up

4:00

You guessed it. A standard push-up where you push off the ground, clap your hands together and return to your starting position. Look closely and you can see that the push off the ground actually comes just before you complete the extension as opposed to starting at the bottom of the movement.

While not for everyone, it raises your awareness of how much your back muscles come into play with these types of exercises. The dynamic of having to literally catch yourself before you face plant onto the ground builds up both fast and slow-twitch muscles very quickly.

Rotational Push-up

4:31

Here, we start recognizing more of the core as opposed to just the pectorals, trapezius muscles and rhomboids. In this version, both feet remain touching the ground as opposed to "stacking," them.

Quick Tip: The tendency is to look skyward towards your raised hand. This can cause you to over-extend and lose your balance. Notice the model looking out to the side, keeping his head and shoulders in direct line with with his torso, thus being able to avoid over-arching and maintain his balance.

Spiderman Push-Up

5:08

This requires a little extra strength and coordination. It's also a great indicator as to whether or not your hips are able to open and rotate.
Tight hip muscles are usually great indicators of tightness elsewhere in the legs anywhere from ligaments like IT Bands to the sartorious muscle and can be in either leg, not just the one with the tight hip. You'll notice that even the model can bring his right leg to his forearm while the left leg falls a little short of the mark.

Superman Push-up

5:38

Be sure and do this one when your floor has a more tactile surface. Notice the model is adjusts his feet several times as his toes start to slip on the smooth pavement.

One-legged Push-up

6:06

Notice that the raised leg is just slightly above parallel to the torso. You don't have to over-arch or feel like you're kicking backwards to do this.

Side-to-Side Push-Up

6:33

Again, slightly turn in the hands to stabilize yourself. This is another asynchronous movement that will eradicate any favorability to one side or the other.

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