Press-ups (also referred to as push-ups) are a great way increase your fitness. With the many variations, you’re able to trigger a large number of muscle groups. One of the best aspects of press-ups is that you can do them anywhere. No equipment needed, no gym membership needed — just you and the ground. These six press-up variations will not only help you pack on lean muscle, they’ll continually change up your workout, ensuring long-lasting effectiveness.
Variation One: Knees on the Floor Press-Ups
Those experienced in press-ups might be able to skip this step, but if you’re just starting out, this variation is a great introduction. Your hands should be two to four inches outside your shoulders and your finger tips should be even with the top of your shoulders. To adjust the difficulty level in this variation, move your knees closer or further from your waist. The closer your knees are to your waist, the easier the press-up will be.
Variation Two: Standard Press-Ups
This is the classic, go-to press-up. Keep your hands wider than your shoulders; two inches is a good measurement here. The standard press-up works the chest more than the triceps due to your wide hand position. If you’re looking to build up your arms more than your pecs, move your hands in to around shoulder width. Your hips should never sag towards the floor and always keep your body in a straight line. Go slow and keep your form — sloppy press-ups can do more harm than good.
Variation Three: Wide Arm Press-Ups
To focus even more on your pecs than the standard press-up, move your hands out to three or four inches past your shoulders. Lower your body even slower this time, perhaps taking four seconds to get your chest and inch from the ground. Pause at the bottom for one second before strongly pushing yourself back to starting position.
Variation Four: Finger Tip Press-Ups
Finger tip press-ups build hand strength as well increase the distance your torso has to travel by a few inches, providing a little more time for those muscles to work.
Variation Five: Clenched Fist Press-Ups
Supporting yourself with clenched fists instead of open palms reduces the stability of your press-up, creating a greater challenge. Preferably on a mat, place your fists at shoulder width, descend slowly, and maintain good form throughout. This variation is also great for those with weak wrists. Keep your wrists locked as any bend will not only decrease the effectiveness of your press-up, but also potentially do damage to your wrists.
Variation Six: Weight Shift Press-Ups
Instead of the one-armed press-up you always see in movies, try shifting weight to each side of your body while in the standard press-up position. Focus on your right side taking on as much of your weight as possible as you lower and raise yourself back up. Then do the same thing to the left side of your body.
Press-ups should be a standard in everyone’s fitness regimen. One of my personal favorite routines to follow is the One Hundred Push Up Training Program. It will help keep you motivated and set goals for you each week.