The Power of the Push Up

The push-up is a versatile body weight exercise that strengthens the upper body including chest, shoulders, triceps, and core. It’s a versatile muscle builder for all athletic levels. Small changes in hand and body position can produce big differences in the muscles you target.

Beginner Options

  • Perform push-ups on knees.
  • Perform on toes when strong enough to maintain proper form.
  • Perform incline push-ups.
    • Elevate hands on a bench, chair, or plyo box.
    • Push-ups on a wall (lean into wall and push away).

Hand Position
Vary hand position to provide additional challenge for different muscle groups.

  • Diamond (hands narrow and form a diamond shape with thumbs and index fingers) – Triceps.
  • Narrow (hands under shoulders) – Triceps.
  • Mid (hands outside shoulders) – Chest.
  • Wide (hands very wide) – Chest.

Advanced Options/Variations
Increase upper body work and challenge core stabilizers even more.

  • Decline push-up
    • Place feet on a stability ball.
    • Place feet in a suspension system.
    • Place feet on a bench or plyo box.
  • Place one hand on a medicine ball.
  • Place two hands on a medicine ball.
  • Wrap a strength band around your back for more resistance.

Considerations for all levels

  • Keep the back long and straight (avoid hip lift or hip sag).
  • Brace core to support the low back.
  • Engage glutes and thighs for stabilization.

Add push-ups into your strength routine 2 to 3 times per week. Perform until you feel muscle fatigue. That’s when you’ll build muscle and feel the power of push-ups!