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Try these 4 types of push-ups for better body weight training


Men’s Health / Eric Rosati

Are you really thinking about what you are doing when you fall for a push-up? You’ve probably been pumping through basic body weight since grade school, so it’s easy to believe that you know pretty much everything about exercise. The move, after all, is pretty simple – what you do is literally in the name.

But the movement has more nuances than just hitting the ground and pushing off. Your posture is important to get the most out of the push-up (more on this here). Your ultimate goal in performing the exercise is equally important, according to trainer Charlee Atkins, CSCS

“Let’s talk about the goal of a push-up,” she says. “The perfect push-up doesn’t do the most repetitions. A perfect push-up goes all the way down and then goes all the way up to the starting position.”

Atkins notes that a certain type of person she works with often skips this form and looks for speed and raw strength. Folks, she talks about us.

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“Most of my male clients forget about the enlargement at the top and instead worry about how many they can do,” says Atkins. The trainer suggests that guys trying to get more out of their push-ups should instead try to vary the intensity of your workout by adding elements of instability and movement.

This four-pull series gives you the ability to do just that with three challenging push-ups and a regression.

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Do each variation for 10 repetitions

    Place your hands on a weight bench or other platform (a couch or ottoman will work just as well if you’re exercising at home) to get into an elevated plank position. This is a better regression for the standard push-up than getting on your knees as you still need to keep your glutes engaged to keep your posture solid. Do repetitions in an elevated position until you can do 10 or more with little effort.

      This variation challenges your chest, shoulders, core, and glutes even more with an isometric hold at the bottom of each rep. First, hold for 2 seconds, then work your way up to longer breaks. If you are having trouble getting back to the top position, don’t stress – just take one side of Atkins and lower your knees to the floor to make it easier until you build enough strength to do this without the help to do.

        Move in the frontal plane by adding side hand movements to your pushups. Cross one hand over the other, do a push-up repetition, and then reverse the movement. Most importantly, keep your posture solid as you move by keeping the core and glutes locked in place all the time.

          This classic variant helps to build stability and to challenge your one-sided strength and balance. Once you are in a firm plank position, lift one hand off the floor, tap the opposite shoulder, and repeat the process. Try to keep your shoulders straight as you switch between plant arms.

          You can incorporate these variations into your workout instead of standard push-ups, or you can adopt them as a series and do 3 to 4 rounds over the entire set. When you’re ready for even more pushup challenges, check out this routine for home pushups only.

          Want to learn more about Atkins? Check out our series of Try Her Move training tips.

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