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Push-Ups That Will Change Your Body

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Beginner Push-Ups

1. Modified T Push-Up

Targets shoulders, chest, arms, abs, obliques

Begin in modified push-up position — wrists below shoulders, abs engaged, knees on floor (not shown). Then bring your right arm toward the ceiling, rotating your upper body (from the waist up) to the right. Hold for 2 counts; return hand to floor and do a push-up, bending elbows to 90 degrees. Return to starting position; repeat on left. Do 10 reps.

2. Modified Halfway Push-Up

Targets shoulders, chest, arms, abs

Begin in modified push-up position — wrists below shoulders, abs engaged, knees on floor. Do a push-up, keeping elbows close to your body and bringing chest almost to the floor. Come only halfway up, keeping abs tight, then lower again to floor. Straighten arms all the way without locking elbows. Repeat, this time doing a full push-up on your knees. Hold for one count, then return to starting position. Do 5 reps.

3. Modified Single-Arm Push-Off

Targets shoulders, chest, arms, abs

Begin in modified push-up position —- wrists below shoulders, abs engaged, knees on floor. Do a push-up, keeping elbows close to your body and bringing chest almost to the floor. As you straighten arms, lift right hand a few inches off the floor. Lower right hand and repeat, this time lifting left hand. Continue alternating hands; do 10 reps per side.

Intermediate Push-Ups

1. Full T Push-Up

Targets shoulders, chest, arms, abs, obliques, thighs

Begin in full push-up position — wrists below shoulders, legs extended, toes tucked under, abs engaged. Lift your right arm toward the ceiling, rotating entire body to right; keep hips and legs stacked. Hold for 2 counts, then return to start. Do one push-up; repeat on left side. Do 10 reps per side.

2. Dive-Bomber Push-Up

Targets shoulders, chest, arms, abs, back, hamstrings

Start in downward-facing dog — hands slightly more than shoulder-width apart, hips lifted, heels reaching down. Glide chest forward and through arms, bringing it down between your hands and arching back toward ceiling; hover hips 2 to 3 inches off floor. Reverse, pressing into hands and bringing hips back up. Do 10 reps.

3. Staggered-Arm Push-Up

Targets shoulders, chest, arms, abs

Begin on hands and knees with hands about shoulder-width apart and left hand 4 to 6 inches in front of right hand (keep hands close to chest). Walk feet back until legs are fully extended, keeping abs firm. Do 10 push-ups, bending elbows to 90 degrees and bringing chest just above the floor. Switch hand positions, placing right hand 4 to 6 inches in front of left; repeat for 10 more reps.

Advanced Push-Ups

1. T Push-Up with Leg Raise

Targets shoulders, chest, arms, abs, obliques, butt, thighs

Begin in full push-up position with legs extended, abs engaged and hips lifted. Raise right arm toward ceiling, rotating entire body to the right; at the same time, lift right leg. Hold for 3 counts, return to floor, then do a full push-up. Repeat on the opposite side. Do 10 reps.

2. Push-Up with Leg Lift

Targets shoulders, chest, arms, abs, butt, thighs

Begin in a full push-up position — wrists below shoulders, legs extended, toes tucked under, abs engaged. Lift right leg off the floor and bend elbows, lowering chest toward floor. Straighten arms and repeat, keeping leg lifted. Do 10 reps; switch legs and repeat

3. Plyo Push-Up

Targets shoulders, chest, arms, abs, butt

Begin in full push-up position with hands directly under your shoulders, legs extended, abs engaged. Do a push-up, bending elbows to 90 degrees. As you push back up to start, explosively lift both hands off the floor. Do 10 reps.

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, February 2007.

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