Not Your Mama’s Push-Ups

Push-ups. They’re one of those exercises that has been around forever, and for good reason. A well-executed set of push ups gives us bragging rights and build killer upper body strength. And it’s easy to become a push-up-aholic – once you’ve mastered the move, you feel almost superhuman. Drop and gimme ten? How about twenty?! We’re unstoppable. It’s like the old Chuck Norris joke: we don’t push ourselves up, we push the earth down.

Once you’ve mastered a push up, the variations on the standard are endless. Here are some options that will continue to build your strength, secure your bragging rights, and are definitely not your mama’s push-ups.

Note: Before you mix it up, make sure you get traditional push-ups down correctly. Place your toes and hands on the ground, making sure your arms are straight and back is flat. Keep your hands slightly more than shoulder width apart. Tighten your abs and inhale as you lower yourself down until your elbows reach a 90 degree bend. Exhale as you push yourself back up to start. Bam! One rep.

Triangle push-up (targets triceps)
Set your body up like you are about to do a traditional push-up. Instead of hands wide, put your thumbs and index fingers together to form a triangle directly under your chest. Lower, push up and repeat for as many as you can muster!

Wide Leg push-ups with a clap (targets core, raises heart rate)
Spread your legs wider than hip width apart and perform a traditional-style push-up. As you push yourself back up, clap your hands in the air between the floor and your chest. Land your hands back in starting position. Perform as many as you can.

One-legged push-ups (challenges balance)
Assume traditional push-up position. Raise your right leg off the ground a couple inches – even a few centimeters will do the trick. Lower, push back up, switch legs and repeat. Alternate between legs to ensure you do not burn out before you get to the second leg!

Stability ball push-ups (targets back and shoulders, improves balance)
Start on all fours with a stability ball under your torso. Walk your feet and body back until only your chest is on stability ball. Place your hands under your shoulders with your elbows in towards your body, facing your feet. Squeeze the ball between your hands to keep it stable and build your strength. Keeping the ball steady, exhale as you push your body up and arms straight. Lower and repeat. This one can be super-tough, but is also super-rewarding.

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