Do you do pushups? They are a great exercise. From a basic standpoint it is one of the simplest exercises to have in your toolbox because it can be done anywhere and hits the chest, shoulders, and triceps with a little of the core and back involved. But just because you have access to a gym that has benches, barbells, and machines doesn’t mean that the pushup should be forgotten.
The pushup is a great explosive and endurance exercise. Plus there are a lot of ways you can do it. Let’s look at the variety of options.
- Standard – You assume the age-old position and slowly lower your body until you are kissing the floor and then push hard back to a straight-arm position. It is a great upper body exercise.
- Leg Kick Pushup – This is just like a standard pushup but at the bottom you kick a leg out to the side as far as it will go and then back before pushing back up. This adds an element of balance and control for the upper body and works your hip flexibility.
- Knee Pushups – You start in a normal pushup position. Then you drive your right knee towards your left elbow. Pause, and then move that leg back to the starting position and go down and up for a pushup. Next repeat the motion with the opposite leg to the other elbow. This adds abs and the hip flexors to the movement.
- Corkscrew Pushup – Assume a normal starting position and then bend your knees and hop your feet forward once. Start to lower your upper body down while your twist your knees and hips to the left so the left side of your thigh gets parallel to the ground. Push back up and bring your knees to the middle. When you go down again it will be to the right. This adds a lot of leg work and hips.
- Side-to-Side Pushup – Start in the normal position but when you go down angle to the right as far as you can and then come back up. For the next rep, go down to the left. This puts more stress on each arm one at a time.
- Climbing Pushup – Start in a normal pushup position. Move your right hand forward 6 to 8 inches then move your left hand back the same amount. Lift your left foot off the ground and about 6 to 8 inches up. Now do half your pushups like this then switch hand and foot positions. This will work connecting muscles and your core.
- T-Pushups – Start in a normal pushup position with your feet slightly wider apart. Go down and when you come back up take your right hand off the ground, twist your right shoulder towards the sky and point your right arm straight up. You hips will shift as well. Then return your hand and go back down, raising your left hand the next time you come up. These add an additional dimension to core and shoulder work.
Adding them In
You can include one or more of these great exercises to your chest workout. They make great transitions at the end of a routine into abdominal or core work. You can also use more than one and just design a routine around ‘Pushup Day’ that involves abdominal work. These bodyweight type exercises are great for endurance as well as teaching balance.