Push-ups are fantastic for building strength and muscle in the entire upper-body, particularly the chest, shoulders, triceps and abs.
My other favorite thing about push-ups is that they can be infinitely progressed and modified to keep your muscles guessing…and growing!
Though there are countless variations on the basic push-up, the following five are among the very best for building strength and muscle:
1 – Classic Push-up
The classic two arm push-up will never go out of style! Make sure you maintain a straight line from the back of your head to your heels throughout the entire range of motion. Also be sure to lower yourself all the way to the bottom and achieve a full extension of your arms at the top.
2 – Feet Elevated Push-up
Elevating your feet during a push-up changes the weight-to-limb ratio, placing more of your weight in your hands, and thereby increasing the strength and muscle building potential of the standard push-up.
3 – Archer Push-up
This variation finds one arm doing the bulk of the pushing while the opposite arm remains straight, acting as a kickstand of sorts to help stabilize the body. You can think of the archer push-up almost like a self-assisted one arm push-up.
4 – One Arm Push-up
By removing one arm from the equation entirely, you automatically double the amount of work performed on your other arm. Taking away a contact point also forces your abs and other core muscles to pick up the slack, thereby giving added benefit to this challenging movement.
Check out my full one arm push-up tutorial for more.
5 – One Arm/One Leg Push-up
Taking away a leg makes the one arm push-up even more challenging, and can help take your strength and muscle gains to the next level!
Remember to use cross-body tension to stay balanced during this difficult variation. That means that when you are pushing with your right arm, you will balance on your left leg, and vice versa.