When you hear the word, “push-up”, do you automatically think of the conventional push-up form that everyone does? While the traditional version is really beneficial, there are actually so many different variations that you can do that target specific parts of your body. So why not give these other versions a try and see how they fit into your fitness routine and goal progress?
Different Kinds of Push-ups That Focus on Different Muscles
1. Traditional Push-up
The traditional pushup is the one that probably first comes to mind. It begins with your hands beneath your shoulders or slightly wider. Your core should be tight. Your back should be straight and depending on your level, you can be up on your toes or on your knees. If you cannot do a pushup on your toes, then start with your knees on the ground until you progress.
Slowly lower yourself to the ground. A common mistake that people make is either letting your lower body sag to the ground, so your hips touch the floor first, or arching too high so make sure that your back is flat the entire time. Keep your elbows in close to your body and tucked in. Don’t let them stick out to the sides.
Then exhale and push yourself back to the starting position. And there you have it, a traditional pushup.
The traditional pushup works your entire body simultaneously – from your arms, abs and lower body. It trains these muscles to work together, while also building better balance and stability.
2. Wide Arm Push-up
If you want to engage your chest and front shoulders more, then try the wide grip. It is the same as a traditional pushup but your hands further apart. This means that your elbows will bend slightly more when you are lowering yourself to the ground.
When it comes to pushup variations, the wider apart your hands are, the more you will work your chest. This means that a wide grip pushup will place more emphasis on your pectoral strength than the traditional one.
3. Diamond Push-up
The diamond or close grip pushup is another version that you can try. While your body is the same as in the conventional pushup, your hands are closer together, narrower than shoulder width. Position your hands together so your two indexes and thumbs are touching. The space in between your two hands should form a triangle shape.
Some people may find that the diamond pushup is harder to execute than with other different kinds of pushups. It is also easy to allow your elbows to flare out to the side while lowering yourself to the ground. It is easy with a close grip pushup to allow your elbows to flare out. To keep to true form, make sure they remain tucked close to your sides.
4. Staggered Push-up
One of the different kinds of pushups you can include in your training is the staggered pushup. This involves positioning yourself into the traditional pushup position. The variable that changes are your hands. One hand should be situated higher than the other, which should still remain in line with your shoulder.
Execute a pushup in this position. The hand/arm that is lower will be forced to work more as it basically takes the brunt of the work. Then after you have finished your set/reps with one side, swap and repeat. This pushup variation helps those who want to improve strength on each side individually.
5. Clap Push-up
There are different kinds of pushups that are dynamic and use explosive power. One of these is the clap pushup.
In this version, your starting point mimics that traditional pushup. After you lower yourself to the ground, this is when the clap pushup begins. As you come up, you really need to propel yourself off the ground so that you have enough time and space to clap your hands together before landing in the starting position again, ready for the next rep.
With the plyometric pushup, you need to land with your elbows slightly bent to absorb the impact of the landing. Just think of it as the same way you would land with your knees slightly bent if you were jumping on your feet.
As you land, you should lower yourself into your next rep and repeat. Use the momentum from landing with your elbows bent, and spring yourself back up again.
This pushup really emphasizes explosive power and plyometrics.
If you are new to the clapping pushup, then start by getting used to exploding into the air without the clap. As you get used to this dynamic movement, then include the clap.
Alternatively, you can also start the clapping pushup on your knees before progressing to your toes.
6. Superman Push-up
Different kinds of pushups that also use explosive power is the superman. The superman takes the clapping pushup to a whole new level. Instead of just your torso coming off the ground, your entire body leaves the floor.
As you push yourself off the ground, your hands, torso and feet should be in the air. Your arms go above your head in front of you so you are doing the superman post mid-air before safely catching yourself and getting into your next rep.
These explosive pushups – the clap and superman – target your fast twitch muscles in your chest. By using these muscles fibers, you really maximize growth and power. These pushups are also really beneficial for athletes, such as basketball players who always throw chest passes.
However, it is recommended that you build a solid pushup foundation with the traditional or other different kinds of pushups first before attempting them.
The pushup is a staple in most gym goers workout, and for good reason. It only requires bodyweight and can easily be modified. As you can see with this list of different kinds of pushups too, you can also make it more challenging depending on what muscle group/s you want to focus on by slight shifts in arm positioning or even by adding dynamic movements.
Jefit is a workout log app that has an extensive library. With the ability to mix and match your training, including different kinds of pushups, you can really maximize your gym workouts and make the most of them.
Have you tried any of these different kinds of pushups? Which ones do you like? Let us know in the comments, we would love to know!