All Kinds of Push-ups

August 23, 2010 // Al Kavadlo

The push-up is about as close to a perfect exercise as you can get. Push-ups require no equipment (even pull-ups require a bar) and they can be modified in an infinite number of ways.

If you can’t do a push-up yet, start by practicing on your knees or up on an angle until you build the necessary strength and coordination. Planks and side planks are also great exercises to help with working towards push-ups.

Push-up Grips
The traditional push-up involves putting your palms flat on the ground, but you can also try doing push-ups on your fists, which is more difficult. For an added challenge, you can tent up your hands and perform push-ups on your fingertips. If that’s still not enough, you can start taking some of those fingers off the ground!

Hand Placement
The standard hand placement for a push-up is slightly wider than shoulder width. If you want to add more emphasis to your triceps, try a narrower hand placement. To place more emphasis on your chest, position your hands wider.

Foot Placement
When performing this exercise, you’ll find that keeping your feet farther apart will make the push-up slightly less difficult. When learning advanced variations, start with a wider stance and work your way towards keeping your feet shoulder width or narrower.

Danny gets airborn with a plyo push-up.

Plyo Push-ups
Once you’ve gotten comfortable with traditional push-ups, try getting explosive and pushing your upper body completely off the ground. Once you get the hang of this, start adding in claps, arm waves, or other movements to show your personal style. Eventually you might work up to getting your entire body off the ground!

Hindu and Dive Bomber Push-ups

The Hindu push-up is a challenging variation that involves starting with your hips way up in the air (similar to the yoga pose downward facing dog). From there, lower your face towards the ground, then scoop your chest up while dropping your hips down (ending in a position similar to the yoga pose upward facing dog). Shift your hips back to the start position and repeat. A dive bomber push-up is pretty much the same, except you get back to the starting position by doing the move in reverse.

The One Arm Push-up
The one arm push-up takes lots of practice as well as total body strength. Check out this post on performing one arm push-ups for more info.

Plyo One Arm Push-up?
There is a famous Zen koan which asks, “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” I couldn’t help wondering, “What is the sound of a one hand clapping push-up?”

Watch the video below to find out:

For more information, check out my book, Pushing The Limits! – Total Body Strength With No Equipment.