27 Pushup Variations For Advancing Athlete

pushup variations for intermediate

Intermediates’ Push-ups

Intermediate push-ups are where you will learn an advanced skill that will be helpful for the rest of your life. After gaining the foundation strength and technical skills to perform the correct pushup, upping the ante is a good thing.

This intermediate compound exercises will help to connect your body to the mind so that the core works and engages properly. The list for intermediate pushup is immense, and you won’t have to exercise with the same range of motion, day in and day out.

Following are the different intermediate level push-ups that can be tried based on your fitness level and strength requirements.

1. Knuckle Pushup

This variation of the pushup works on your forearms, biceps, triceps, pecs, abdominals and the core muscles. It also strengthens the wrist and toughens the knuckles. This can be really challenging at times and for people who are at pace with it – it is recommended not to try it. It can do more harm than good. However, it will for sure give you good punching abilities.

Following are the steps involved in it.

* Get in the regular pushup position and place your hand exactly beneath your chest. The hands must be shoulder width apart.
* This time you won’t be putting your palms on the ground, you’ll place knuckles on the ground. This must be directly below the elbow position.
* Now lower your chest towards the floor slowly, until it almost gets in contact with the floor. Hold your position for a couple of seconds.
* Now get back in the initial position. The form of the body must be correct and in line. Repeat the desired number of repetitions.

Breathe in as you lower your body towards the floor mat and breathe out as get back in the starting position. The range of motion involved in knuckle push-ups is little larger as compared to regular push-ups. Thus activating the triceps more. This exercise is straight up your alley – if you are a martial artist or if you want to punch someone really hard.

2. Staggered Pushup

This variation of the exercise primarily works on the shoulders, chest, arms, biceps, and triceps. The true exercise that strengthens the upper body and helps to tone and attain a stronger core. Staggered pushup exercise helps to put emphasize on one side of the chest. This is useful for people who want to build some strength on their non-dominant side.

Following are the steps involved in it.

* Get your hands in staggered position, with one hand higher and wider than the other.
* Now start bending your elbow and get your chest down towards the floor.
* Extend the arms to push the body into the starting position and then reverse the hand position.
* Repeat the steps for the desired number of repetitions.

Breathe in as you lower your chest to the floor mat and breathe out as you push back to the starting position. Hold your position in the downward movement for a second or two and then get back to the starting position. It is a must try exercise if you lag strength on your non-dominant side.

3. Slow Negative Pushup

This variation of the exercise is effective for increasing the core and muscle strength. Negative push-ups make use of eccentric contraction, which means the muscles get contracted as they increase in length. This increase in tension among the muscles makes them more hard and strong. Slow negative works on the chest, shoulder and abdominal muscles of the body.

Following are the steps involved in it.

* Start in the plank position like in regular pushup. Get your hands underneath shoulders.
* From the up position, start to lower your body slowly on the mat.
* Start squeezing the shoulder blades, while lifting the palms away from the floor.
* Get your elbow straighten and push yourself back into the plank position.
* Repeat the desired number of repetitions.

Doing the negatives for the first time will make your body sore and stiff. It causes microscopic damage and induces extra muscle regeneration than compared to its other counterpart. However, don’t let this bother you. The stiffness and the soreness in the body will be gone once it gets adapted to the routine.

4. Spiderman Pushup

This variation of the exercise works on the chest, shoulders and arm muscles of the body. It involves a leg movement, which is more like an ab crunch. It also activates the pecs and triceps muscles. This upper body exercise engages the core and enhances it strength abilities. Include the Spiderman push-up in your fitness routine and expand your repertoire.

Following are the steps involved in it.

* Start with the regular pushup plank position. Place your hands beneath the shoulder
* Lower your body towards the floor. Fold your left knee, so it comes in contact with the left elbow.
* Take a pause in the same position and count to ten.
* After the count, straighten the arms and recover the left knee back to the initial plank position.
* Now you can perform the same steps with your right knee and right elbow.
* Repeat and interchange the knee and elbow.

Breathe in as you go down towards the floor and breathe out as you push yourself back in the starting position. It requires a higher level of balance and coordination while adding extra stress to the core. Thus, make sure to engage your lower ab and back muscles. This exercise is great for swimmers, cyclist, and runners.

5. Pseudo Planche Pushup

This variation of the pushup works on the biceps, chest and shoulder muscles. It enriches the quality of abdominal muscles and improves the core as well. It activates the triceps and shoulder and adds strength to it. Pseudo planche push-up is an impressive exercise to conquer with a lot of benefits.

Following are the steps involved in it.

* Use the floor mat and extend the legs behind the upper body in a straight line. Push your hands to the ground beside your stomach and tuck your toes into the ground.
* The elbows should be pressed against the ribs and the fingers must be pointing in the forward direction, or away from the trunk.
* Your body weight must entirely be supported by the hands and toes. Now squeeze the thighs and strengthen your abdominal muscles to remain in a straight line.
* Press the elbow to push your body up and down. Now you will feel the entire body weight moving in the shoulders and chest. It is essential to keep your abdominal muscles rigid to prevent the hips from falling down.

This exercise improves your climbing up skills and also provides you the ability to do handstand and shoulder stand effectively. Most people also use this exercise as a progression exercise towards the full planche pushup. This exercise is intense and can leave people dehydrated rather quickly.

6. The Outside Leg Kick Pushup

This variation of the pushup helps you to attain strength and endurance in chest and shoulder muscles. It increases the flexibility and strength in the hamstring, hip flexors, and glutes. This exercise is effective for people who wish to lose some unwanted fat and get their body toned. It helps in firing up the abdominal muscles and strengthen its overall ability.

Following are the steps involved in it.

* Get in the regular pushup position and start lowering the chest.
* While in the bottom position kicks your right leg sideways and try to make a 90-degree angle.
* Keep your knee straight during the movement and hold the position for a second or two.
* Now get back to the starting position and repeat the step with the other leg to complete one repetition.

Breathe in as you lower your chest to the floor and breathe out as you get back to the starting position. Get the leg as far away as possible, and preferably till 90-degree angle. This exercise is a great alternative to bring creativity into your fitness routine.

7. Grasshopper Pushup

This variation of the exercise works on your chest, traps, triceps, quadriceps, and glutes. This exercise will help you burn a lot of fat and calories. It increases your mental strength and helps you gain confidence. Grasshopper pushup enhances your body balance abilities. The core is engaged more in this exercise as compared to other pushup variation.

Following are the steps involved in it.

* Get in the regular pushup position and place your hands underneath the shoulder.
* Now bend your left knee and slide it underneath the body.
* Attempt the pushup in the followed position and prevent the left leg from kissing the floor.
* Push yourself up and slide the leg back to the starting position.
* Continue the same set of movements with the right leg. This completes one repetition.

The awkward position involved in this exercise helps to activate three different nerves simultaneously and prevents the body from falling over. This helps your body to respond quickly to stimulation and thus increasing your balancing abilities. It enhances your reflexes and body speed.

8. Resistance Band Pushup

This variation of the pushup puts your muscles under greater stress and tension, all throughout the exercise. During the relaxation phase as well, as you go down to the floor, the body is under continuous pressure. Thus making the exercise more intense and difficult. This exercise enhances your chest, shoulder, triceps and abdominal muscles.

Following are the step involved in it.

* Get a resistance band and strap in around your upper back and underneath the hands.
* Now do the steps involved in a regular pushup.

Use this exercise as an alternate option to regular pushup and increase the level of intensity involved. Doing variation keeps your routine active and doesn’t let it become mundane. Do make it more intense you add a weighted vest and increase the difficulty by taking the exercise a level up.

9. Corkscrew Pushup

This variation of the pushup works on the lower body and upper body at the same time. It works on the legs, arms and abdominal muscles at the same time. The full body workout that increases the flexibility in your hip flexors and hamstrings. This exercise is great for intermediate level.

Following are the steps involved in it.

* Get in the regular pushup position. Bring your hands and feet close, such that your knees are bent at 90-degree angle.
* Your hips must be raised higher than your head.
* Now lower your left side to the floor by bending the elbow and rotating the body. This is known as a corkscrew motion.
* Hold the position and rotate to the other side and return to the starting position.

Breathe in as you go down to the floor and breathe out as you rotate the body with the corkscrew motion. This exercise will help your body to learn how to balance and provide it more flexibility. It increases the range of motion of the body for which you will be thankful for your old age.

10. Wide Pushup

This variation of the push-up works on the chest, shoulder, anterior deltoids, and triceps brachii. During the movements, the ab muscles get contracted that helps to burn calories quickly and efficiently. This in return helps to tone your body. It provides stronger and deeper ab muscles. This variation of the exercise also helps to increase the range of motion of the hands.

Following are the steps involved in it.

* Hands must be approx one and half times wider than your shoulder width.
* Fully extend your legs behind you with your feet touching the floor.
* Now bend your elbows until your chest touches the floor.
* Hold your body for a second in the same position.
* Push yourself up from the ground and return to the initial position.

Breathe in as you lower yourself closer to the ground and breathe out as you push yourself in the starting position. Use this multi-joint exercise to attain strength and endurance inside yourself.

11. Diamond Pushup

This variation of the exercise works on the triceps brachii, chest, and the shoulder muscles. It also uses the biceps brachii muscles to provide the stability to the body and thus working on quadriceps and obliques. Diamond push-up makes use of the narrow grip pattern, forming the diamond shape pattern. This exercise is also great to lose some of the unwanted fat in the system and get toned up.

Following are the steps involved in it.

* Position the hands so that your index fingers and thumb are close to each other and form a diamond shape.
* Now get in the regular pushup position, by keeping your elbow straight.
* Slowly lower your chest to the floor, like in regular pushup until it almost touches the floor.
* Return to the starting position by pushing your body up.
* Repeat the desired number of a pushup.

Breathe in as you lower yourself to the ground and breathe out as you push yourself back to the starting position. Research shows that the narrow bases position of the hands activates the triceps muscles more as compared to regular pushup style.

12. Tiger Bend Pushup

This variation of the exercise works on the triceps and shoulder muscles. It increases strength capabilities of the pecs, deltoids, and trapezius. Tiger bend push-up is effective for people who are required to pass and shoot the ball. Doing this exercise will help to reduce the chances of injuries to your elbow joint. This exercise targets a number of smaller and larger muscle group.

Following are the steps involved in it.

* Get in the top position of a push-up and extend your arms. Place your hands a little wider than the shoulder width.
* Now lower the body until your chest almost touches the floor. Push yourself back by getting the forearms and back of the elbow to the ground position.
* Now go back to the bottom position of push-up by pushing forward, and later go back to the starting position by pushing up.
* Repeat the desired number of repetitions.

The intensity of the exercise can be modified by changing the height of inclination which in return increase and decreases the amount of bodyweight to lift, respectively. If you change the distance between the legs, the involvement of the core will get changed.

13. Feet Elevated Pushup

This variation of the pushup exercise works on the chest, core and shoulder muscles of the body. Since the feet are placed on an elevated surface, the range of motion involved is increased in this exercise. This exercise will help you to attain extra pumped chest and abdominal muscles.

Following are the steps involved in it.

* Get in the regular pushup position with your torso at arm’s length.
* Place your feet on an elevated surface like a bench or a chair.
* Now lower the body until it almost touches the floor.
* Push yourself back up to get in the starting position.
* Repeat the desired number of repetitions.

Breathe in as you lower yourself towards the floor and breathe out as you push up back in the starting position. This exercise is comparatively easier as compared to other intermediate level exercises, provided you have required shoulder and chest strength. This exercise will give you deeper and stronger ab muscles.

14. Side to Side Pushup

This variation of the exercise works on the pectoralis, shoulder and torso stabilizers. It increases the mobility in shoulder joints, obliques, and lower back. Side to side pushup, also known as typewriter pushup, also help you to reduce fat and tone your body. To a certain degree, it also works on traps and triceps muscles.

Following are the steps involved in it.

* Get into the pushup position and place your hand’s shoulder-width apart just beneath the shoulders.
* Now flex the elbows and lean onto one side and lower your torso on the ground.
* Extend your elbow and return to the starting position by pushing the body in the center.
* Lower your body on the other side and get back to the starting position to complete the repetition.
* Repeat the desired number of repetitions.

Breathe in as you slowly bend yourself on one side and breathe out as you push back in starting position. Side to side pushup, allows you to work on each side of the body simultaneously and helps in improving the non-dominant side of the body. It improves the overall body balance.

15. Isometric Pushup

This variation of the exercise works on the shoulder, chest, triceps and back muscles. It helps in toning the arms and deltoids. In this exercise, the length of the arm and joint muscle does not change during contraction. It increases endurance and strength levels in the entire body region.

Following are the steps involved in it.

* Start in the regular pushup position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width.
* Lower your body to the floor and elbow tucked close to the body.
* Hold the body in the bottom position for a second or two.
* Push back to the starting position explosively so that your arms are entirely straightened up.
* Repeat the desired number of repetitions.

This exercise is beneficial for people who are recovering from chronic issues or injuries. It is also beneficial for people who are looking to enhance strength and performance. A full body workout that increases flexibility levels in the body.

16. Hindu Pushup

This variation of the exercise works on the erector spine, deltoids, abdominals, hamstrings and chest muscles. Hindu push-up, is a compounded exercise that works on the upper and lower body at the same time. It stabilizes and strengthens the joints and increase the flexibility of the spine, making you less prone to injuries.

Following are the steps involved in it.

* Get in the regular push-up position, by placing the hands underneath shoulders. Keep the hip feet width apart with a flat back.
* Once in the start position, raise your hips up in the air. Keep your arms, back, and legs in a straight position. In this position, your body will form an inverted V or an upside-down V.
* Starting bending the elbow outward and lower the chest to the floor. Your butt should be more in level with the floor, but still a little high.
* While your chest closes towards the floor, scoop your head upwards, while arching the upper and lower back.
* Once you have performed the scooping, arching and upward motion movements, straighten your arm, lift the torso and look upward. At this point, your butt will be down to the floor, but yet not touching it.

It is a comprehensive exercise that increases the mobility of the body. It helps to improve flexibility, body posture and cardiovascular health. It includes concentric as well as an eccentric range of motion. This exercise is a must for wrestlers due to the range involved in it.

20. Dive Bomber Pushup

This variation of the exercise works on the pecs, biceps, triceps, latissimus dorsi and deltoids. It increases the strength of the core by doing a complete stretched out movement. Like Hindu pushup, this exercise involved both concentric and eccentric range of motion. It is also beneficial for the lower back and hamstring.

Following are the steps involved in it.

* Start by getting into the downward dog position by placing your hands and feet on the floor. Raise your hips in the upward direction, just like you do in Hindu pushup. Once in the starting position, your body will look like an inverted V, if looked from above.
* Place your hands slightly wider than shoulder width and keep your back straight. Press your heels into the ground.
* Now lower your shoulder and bring your chest closer to the floor, but not touching it. Then swoop through the arms while your chest arches up in between the arms, while you look up. Hold your position for a couple of seconds.
* Now reverse the movements. Again lower your chest back to the ground and raise your hip up high towards the ceiling.
* Repeat the desired number of repetitions.

It includes the vinyasa flow move which is used in yoga. It is an effective head to toe body challenge that enhances your flexibility and balance in the body, therefore making it less prone to injuries.

21. Uchi Mata Pushup

This variation of the exercise works on the core, hamstrings and lower back. It also increases the demand on the shoulders muscles, thus increasing its strength capabilities. If the regular pushup is getting too mundane to be done, try this effective exercise which increases flexibility and helps to reduce fat in the body.

Following are the steps involved in it.

* Start in the regular pushup position and lift the right foot so that your leg gets in parallel with the floor.
* Lower your body until it almost touches the floor and then raises your lifted leg high up in the air.
* This completes half reps. Now do the same movement with the other leg to complete one rep.
* Repeat the desired number of repetitions.

This exercise teaches the body to maintain balance. It is great for the gymnast who solely relies on their balancing abilities to do well in their respective sport. You need to engage the core more in this exercise as compared to other varieties of the pushup.

22. Pike Pushup

This variation of the Push-up exercise works on the shoulder and the core muscles of the body. It also works on the chest, arms and lower back muscles. Since the core is activated more in this exercise, the amount of calories burned is high. So if you want to lose unwanted fat, this exercise is a must for you.

Following are the steps involved in it.

* Get the regular pushup position and place your hands shoulder-width apart. Once in the correct form, your body will turn in an in-warded ‘V’ form.
* Ensure that the arms are overhead, just in front of the face. Keep your head adjacent to the mat. Your elbow must make a 90-degree angle with the floor.
* Now push your elbow and get them in a straight position, by pushing up and away from the ground.
* Now push yourself down to get back in the original position. This would complete one repetition. Keep repeating until the set is finished.

This exercise can be used as a progressive exercise towards the freestanding handstand pushups. Breathe in as you lower the body to the floor and breathe out as you push up back to the starting position. It will give you shoulder strength like no other exercise and at the same time build you for the handstand pushup.

23. Twisting Pushup

This variation of the exercise works on the core, hip and groin muscles of the body. It improves the flexibility and increases strength in the chest and shoulder muscles. It improves the quality of the abs muscles and gives you deeper and stronger abs.

Following are the steps involved in it.

* Get in the regular pushup position by forming a fist with your hands such that you are in the knuckle pushup position.
* Now rotate the hip to the right and cross the right leg with your left leg.
* Lower the chest towards the ground until it almost touches the floor. Do not let your hip touch the floor.
* Push the body back in the starting position.
* Repeat the desired number of repetitions.

Breathe in as you lower your body down towards the floor and breathe out as you push yourself back in the starting position. This exercise is great for you to tone the body and gain muscular strength along with flexibility in the body.

24. Finger Tip Pushup

This variation of the exercise will help you to include strength in your fingertip, wrists and improve the grip quality. This exercise is good for martial artists and wrestlers. In addition to this, the exercise also works on the chest, shoulders, triceps, and core of the body.

Following are the steps involved in it.

* Get in the position by spreading the fingers and lifting the palm off the floor. Your balance must be maintained at the fingertips.
* Slowly bend the elbow and lower your body until it almost kisses the floor. Hold the position for a second or two.
* Push yourself back in the starting position with the help of your fingertips.
* Repeat the desired number of repetitions.

Breathe in as you lower your body to the floor and breathe out as you push yourself back in the starting position. This exercise will enhance your punching abilities and strength in the fingers.

25. Plank Pushup

This variation of the exercise works on the triceps, deltoids, abdominals and shoulder muscles. It enhances the range of motion of the body which comes in handy to perform other bodyweight exercises. This exercise is a combination movement of two different exercise – Plank and Pushup.

Following are the steps involved in it.

* Start with the regular plank position. Slowly get your hands straight such that your palms must be pressing the floor and your toes must support your lower body.
* Rather than bending your elbows like in the regular push-ups, slowly lower the arm until your elbow, and the forearm is resting on the floor.
* Now, get the second arm down and slowly rest the elbow and forearm on the floor.
* Now you must be in the plank position. Try holding the position for a second or two and then return to the push-up position again.
* Repeat the desired number of repetitions.

This exercise is unique because of the range of motion involved in it. It increases the ability of the hip flexors and provides more flexibility to the body. It resembles the workout session of the cardio exercise if done accurately.

26. Muscle-Up Pushup

This variation of the pushup works on your arms, shoulders and rotator cuffs. It improves the strength of the front deltoids, chest and triceps muscles. A coveted fitness exercise that works on the upper and middle back. It helps to burn the fat quickly and replaces it with strong muscles.

Following are the steps involved in it.

* Hang up on the bar with a false grip, while generating a strong kip – opening the shoulders and thrusting your hips.
* As the body rises, kick the heels back and shoulder forwards – bringing the chest above the bar.
* From here, roll your chest over the bar as a change from pull up to the dip, and then to the lockout, if you’re not using the false grip.

People often debate on this exercise whether it is a push or pull exercise. However, it won’t be correct to claim either of it. It would be right, to say, that it is a combination of two movements. It is a combination of pressing, pushing and transition movements.

27. Archer Pushup

This variation of the exercise works on the chest and shoulder muscles. It enhances the strength in triceps and abdominals. It also works on the biceps, quads and abs muscles of the body. This exercise is great for you if there is any lower back in your body. This exercise is a regressive version of single arm pushup.

Following are the steps involved in it.

* The resting arm needs to be placed horizontally on the floor. Grip the floor in a way, like you’re pushing your hands into the ground and away from you.
* Make sure your body is in a straight line from head to the toes. If the hips are not in line with the upper body, it may cause lower back pain.
* Now, pull your shoulders down like you’re getting them as far away as possible from the ears. If done correctly, it will ensure your elbow movement is done correctly.
* It is also necessary to keep your elbow close and tight to your side, as you move your chest down to the floor.
* The forearm of the engaged arm should be kept upright with the floor throughout the movements. This helps in enhancing the activation of your triceps and pecs.

This exercise is an extension of the regular pushup that helps you build strength and endurance required for single arm pushup.

28. Explosive Pushup

This variation of the exercise works on the chest, shoulders, triceps and abs muscles of the body. It improves the strength in the glutes and abdominals, so if you take a light punch in the ribcage area, you won’t feel a thing. Explosive pushup helps to burn the calories lot faster and tones your body.

Following are the steps involved in it.

* Get in the regular pushup position.
* Now bend the elbow and lower your body until it almost touches the floor.
* Push the body up into the air explosively with your hands.
* Your hands must be in the air.
* Repeat the desired number of repetitions.

Breathe in as you lower your body to the floor and breathe out as push back to the starting position. This exercise can be used a progressive exercise towards the clapping pushup variation.

29. Clapping Pushup

This variation of the exercise works on the pecs, deltoids and triceps brachii, abdominals and serratus anterior muscles. This exercise will give an extra boost to the chest and shoulder muscles.

Following are the steps involved in it.

* Get in the regular pushup position. Now flex your elbow and descend into the bottom position.
* Push yourself explosively upwards and as powerfully as possible.
* Bring the hands close to each other and clap while the upper body is in the air.
* Return back to the starting position immediately.
* Repeat the desired number of repetitions.

Breathe in as you lower your body to the floor and breathe out as you explode high in the air. Yes, you might be afraid of falling. But everyone else is too. Believe in your ability and don’t forget to use a soft surface to attempt the exercise.

30. Renegade Row Pushup

This variation of the exercise works on the chest, triceps and shoulder muscles of the body. The exercise also helps you to train your lats and rear deltoids. This exercise activates the core to provide stability during the movements.

Following are the steps involved in it.

* Get in the regular pushup position with the hands placed on dumbbells underneath the shoulder.
* Now perform the regular pushup movements. Once the pushup is done, row one dumbbell back towards the hip, while you push the non-working dumbbell.
* Do not rotate the hip during the movements.
* Get the dumbbell back to the floor and perform with the second half.
* Repeat the desired number of repetitions.

Doing the exercise in the correct form will help you build strength and endurance in your body. This exercise will make you less prone to injuries, and it will enhance the flexibility in your body. Since the range of motion is greater in this exercise, the effect it will have on the muscles will also be increased as compared to other pushup variations.

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