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9 Best push up variations – take your push up to a whole new level.

best push up variations

The pushup is a great full body movement that allows you to work every area of your body in one single move.  If done properly, it can help you boost your metabolism, gain strength and muscle tone.

If you have been doing the push up for quite some time now, you may want to increase the intensity so you can always keep your body challenged for growth.

In this post, you will be introduced to 9 best push up variations that you can incorporate into your workout routine.


Beginner push up: I like to begin with a warm-up push up on a bench instead of my knees. I find that this helps me engage my core more and you can easily modify the height if you are a beginner, until you are doing it fully on the ground. This way, you don’t have just two variations (on knees, or on your feet), as you can alter the height of  your push up as you progress.

best push up variations

Push up reach: Perform the push up with your core fully engaged, as you go up, read out with your arm. This is a killer move for your core as it’s required to keep you stable throughout the whole movement.

best push up variations

Push up – shoulder touch: A similar movement to the one above, yet this time you will perform one push up followed by a shoulder touch. There are two variations in this exercise alone:

  • Push up – shoulder touch (left) – push up – shoulder touch (right)
  • Push up – shoulder touch (left) – shoulder touch (right) – push up

best push up variations

Triceps push up: Also called diamond push up. Start by placing your hands close together (as illustrated), your hands should be right below your chest. This is a more advanced movement and you can go on your knees when you are first starting out. The more your perform this exercise, the more strength you will gain.

best push up variations

Core push up: As you get into the plank position and perform the pushup, reach your left foot with your right hand, then do another pushup and reach your right foot with your left hand. You can also reach both feet at the same time in between push ups. This is a killer core movement as well and you will feel it in your shoulders too,

best push up variations

Oblique push up: This movement will work your lower abs. Bring your leg across and anchor it to the floor. Make sure you are not rotating your chest too much. You can alternate between each sides or perform few reps on each side at a time. I love incorporating this push up as a finisher if I am not including an abs workout in my routine.

best push up variations

Monkey Push up: yes I know, this push up exercise has a funny name 😉 – You start in the position as illustrated in the image. Make sure your back is straight throughout the whole time. Transfer all the weight to your shoulders (your legs are only giving you support), and lower your head towards the floor. You will feel the burn in your shoulders and your triceps if you are doing it right.

best push up variations

Spider man to leg lift push up: Start in the plank position – bring your leg up and do a push up. Then finish the movement and do another pushup this time bringing your knee towards your elbow (as far as you can). Alternate between these two movements.

best push up variations

Elevated push up: the elevated push up can be performed on a bench, chair or anything that provides elevation really. The best part about elevating your push up, is that you can literally perform all the above list of exercises, elevated 🙂 So it takes the push up exercises to a whole new level (literally!)

best push up variations


There you have it: 9 best push up variations you can try today.  I want to add a final note about feeling discouraged when you can’t do a push up properly and you just feel like it’s a very hard exercise.  You WILL gain strength. I remember when I took a break because of a chronic injury, I lost a lot of strength and I could not get 4 of them properly.  Within two weeks of consistent workouts, and pushing myself within my limits, I was able to increase that number to 7, 10 and 15.

Also, it is very important to ensure you are engaging your core properly. You can check out my post below on how to perform the plank right (which is the starting position of a pushup)

The important thing is to always keep adding more challenging variations, as this pushes your body to grow and the regular push up will be your warm up 😉


PS: let me know which variation is your favorite, and what other variations you have tried (that are not listed in this post).

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