List of Push-Up Variations – Instructions & Videos

This list provides you with a wide range of push-up variations that can be used during warm-ups and strength training exercises. These push-up variations work on different muscles and decrease the risk of exercise boredom. They range from easy push-ups such as Knee Push-Ups to more advanced push-ups such as Clapping Push-Ups.

All stretches and exercises should be supervised by a trained martial arts instructor in order to prevent injuries and to ensure the proper technique is utilized. If you have had an injury or are in pain, please see a doctor before starting any stretching or exercise program. For additional stretches and exercises, please visit Black Belt Wiki’s section on Martial Arts Physical Fitness.

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Push-Up Variations – Videos and/or Instructions

  • Traditional Push-Up – The basic push-up focuses on your chest, shoulders, triceps, etc.
  • Clapping Push-Up – This is a great plyometrics exercise for building explosive chest power.
  • Decline Push-Up – This exercise is also known as an elevated push-up.
  • Eagle Claw Push-Ups – Eagle claw push-ups are used to strengthen fingers/hands as well as the muscles in your chest, shoulders, triceps, etc.
  • Elevated Push-Up – Elevated push-ups put a greater emphasis on your upper chest and shoulder muscles. This technique is also known as a decline push-up.
  • Incline Push-Ups – Incline push-ups are easier push-ups as you are doing a push-up against a wall, etc.
  • Judo Push-Ups – Judo push-ups strengthen your arms, shoulders and chest. They also help your core strength.
  • Knee Push-Ups – This is an easy modified push-up used by people recovering from an injury or beginners who lack sufficient upper body strength for regular push-ups.
  • Knuckle Push-Ups – Some martial artists use this exercise to “strengthen” their knuckles by making them less sensitive to hitting hard targets.
  • Medicine Ball Push-Ups – This medicine ball exercise puts more emphasis on your triceps.
  • One Arm Push-Ups – “Rocky”-style one arm push-ups. This is an advanced push-up variation.
  • Pike Push-Up – This push-up variation places greater emphasis on your shoulders.
  • Plyometric Push-Up – A plyometrics exercise for building explosive chest power.
  • Single Arm Medicine Ball Push-Ups
  • Single Leg Push-Ups – This push-up exercise will also help your core strength.
  • T Push-Up – This advanced push-up exercise can be done with or without dumbbells.
  • Triangle Push-Up or Diamond Push-Up – This push-up variation places greater emphasis on your triceps.
  • Wide Grip Push-Ups – This push-up variation places greater emphasis on your chest muscles.

33 Push-Up Variations

Push-Up Exercise Questions

What are push-up exercise benefits?

Push-ups benefits include strengthening your upper body, especially your chest, shoulder and triceps muscles. They also benefit your core muscles (i.e. abdominal, oblique and lower back muscles) because you are performing a quasi-plank exercise with every push-up.  Push-ups are a very effective bodyweight exercise that can be done anywhere (i.e. at home or on vacation) and without any specialized or costly gym equipment.

Additional Examples of Push-Up Variations

Easier Push-Ups

  • Regular – Arms shoulder width apart
  • Tricep – Hands in line with rib cage, close to body
  • Wide Grip – Hands 1 1/2 to 2 shoulder widths apart
  • Clapper – Explode off of ground and clap before landing
  • Chest Tap – Like clappers, but hit hands to chest instead
  • Medicine Ball – One hand on a medicine ball
  • Swiss Ball – Feet elevated on Swiss ball
    1. Swiss Ball Hands – Hands elevated on Swiss ball
  • Slow Negative – Descend slowly but push up quickly
  • Shoulder Touch – Do a regular pushup, then tap one shoulder before the next rep
  • Knee Touch – Same as shoulder touch, but hit knee instead
  • Ankle Touch – Same as previous two, but hit ankle instead
  • Leaning Tower – One hand in plank position, other does pushup
  • Pterodactyl Pushup – Like tricep, but turn hands outwards
  • One Leg – Place one foot on top of the other
  • Uchi Mata – Lift one leg as high as possible as you do each pushup
  • Offset Hands – One hand is farther forward than the other
  • Diamond Pushups – Hands underneath chest in triangle/diamond shape
  • Dragon Pushups – Combine a mountain climber with a pushup
  • Tricep Extension – From a plank, slide body back until arms are extended, then reset
  • T-Rotation – From pushup position, lift one hand until you are sideways, then reset
  • Star Pushups – Start with hands and legs wide
  • Pushup Jacks – From pushup position, move legs out and back like jumping Jacks
    1. Level 2 – As you go down, legs go out. On way up, legs go in.
    2. Level 3 – Do the Jacks from the low pushup position
    3. Level 4 – Same as level two, but do a clapper instead
  • 1.5 Pushups – Do a pushup, go up halfway, down, and back to the top
  • Knuckle – Almost any variation can be done on fists

Medium-Level Push-Ups

  • Cross Chest Tap – Like chest tap, but hit across instead
  • Superman Pushup – Push off the ground in to Superman position, then land
  • Plyometric Pushups – After each pushup, gently push off of ground
  • Muay Thai – Clap behind the back
  • Moving Clapper – As you push off to clap, move sideways across the floor
  • Dragon Walk – After each Dragon Pushup, move forwards across the floor
  • Shoot the Moon – Do a medicine ball pushup, then switch hands by shuffling them
  • Side to Side Pushups – Like Shoot the Moon, but without a medicine ball
  • Corkscrew Pushups – As you do the pushup, turn sideways and bend your knees
  • Archer Pushups – From pushup position, shift only your body and move your side flat to the floor
  • Finger Pushups – Like regular pushups, but on the pads of your fingers
  • Forward Clappers – Like clappers, but extend arms forward when you clap
  • Backward Clappers – Like clappers, but clap near your thighs
  • Thigh Slap – Like clappers, but bring knees to chest and slap thighs before landing
  • Double Medicine Ball – One medicine ball under each hand
    1. Double Medicine Ball Feet – Medicine balls under feet instead of hands
  • Kettlebells – One kettlebell under each hand
    1. Kettlebells Feet – Kettlebells under feet instead of hands
  • Floor to Wall – Explode off of ground and hold position with hands on wall, then reset
  • Supported Handstand – Handstand pushups against wall or with someone holding legs
  • Jumping Hands Pushups – Explode off of ground and place hands on object about 1-2 feet from ground
  • Half Pushup – Hold position halfway down
    1. Full Pushup – Hold chest as close to floor as possible
  • Dip Pushup – Place hands on seats of two chairs, then lower as far as possible each time
  • Weighted – Place plates or some sort of weight between shoulder blades
  • Knuckle – Almost any variation can be done on fists
  • Clap to Chest – Clap and chest tap before landing
  • Double Regular Clapper – Clap twice in a row before landing
  • Knuckle – Almost any variation can be done on fists

Advanced Push-Ups

  • One Hand – Place hand a little farther than the shoulder
  • One Hand One Leg – Like One Hand, but lift opposite leg
  • Aztec Pushup – Explode off of ground and touch toes before landing
  • Quad Medicine Ball – One medicine ball under each hand and foot
  • Quad Kettlebell – Like previous, but substitute Kettlebells instead
  • Elevated Chain – Elevate feet and place a chain around the shoulders
  • One Hand Clapper – Combine One Hand and Clapper pushups
  • Triple Clap – Clap in front, behind and in front again before landing
  • 360 – Explode off of the ground and wheel around 360 degrees before landing
  • Lateral 180 – Explode off of the ground and spin feet 180 degrees to face opposite direction
  • Bruce Lee Pushups – One Hand pushups with arm extended on two fingers
  • Lalanne Pushups – Extend hands as far forward as possible to do pushups
  • Crucifix Pushups – Extend hands as far sideways as possible to do pushups
  • Free Handstand – Handstand pushups without support
  • Full Planche Pushups – “No foot” pushups; feet don’t touch the floor and hands are by waist
  • Turtle Pushups – Place elbows in lower stomach and lift feet off floor to do pushups
  • Cricket Pushups – Place one elbow in hip crease, other in regular position and lift feet off of floor
  • Clap the Moon – Like Jump the Moon, but add a clap when you switch

Push-Up Exercise

List of Push-Up Variations

Push-Up Image provided by Wikimedia Commons

Reference Sources

  1. Many of these push-up variations were supplied by Mike from MBD Martial Arts Academy – Goju Ryu, http://www.mbdmartialarts.com