Wednesday, April 15, 2015

5 Pushup Variations #workoutwednesday

I love pushups. I think they're one of the most efficient and effective exercises out there. And there are so many ways to switch up and/or modify them to meet your needs. So today, since it's Workout Wednesday, I thought it would be fun to share a few of my favorite pushup variations.

pushups, upper body exercises
Friendly reminder: While it's true that pushups target the upper body, specifically the chest and arms, you should always be mindful of the rest of your body. For example, what is your core doing? Are your hips where they need to be? Is your spine lined up? Ask yourself these questions.

And finally, you should always address your individual needs. Consult with your physician before trying anything new, especially if you have upper body issues like, for example, a shoulder injury.

First up, triceps pushups.

These are great for two reasons:
1) They target your triceps muscles somethin' fierce.
2) They offer the knee modification, which lets you crank more with good form.

Never hesitate to modify to your needs if need be. Proper form is essential. And speaking of form, in a triceps pushup, you want your hands right underneath your shoulders and your elbows tucked in.

Literally skim your ribs as you move down and up—that's how you activate your triceps.

In a traditional pushup, your arms come apart a little bit and your elbows flair out slightly when you drop down:

I always tell my students and my clients that their hips should be in line with their shoulders and their ankles. And that they should spread their fingers apart as wide as possible to create a nice, solid base from which you can push.

This is especially important when you're doing a pushup to side plank.

Keep these pushups as fluid as you can, using the core to maintain balance and changing sides after each pushup.

Your core is always working in a standard pushup, but adding the side plank gets you a two-for-one deal.

This is also true when you do a pushup with a hop.

As you sink down into your pushup, try simultaneously hopping your feet out. And then, of course, you'll hop them back in as you return to your starting position. The two-for-one with this variation is that your heart rate will increase.

How about some stretching?

Try a downward dog split with a Spiderman pushup.

I'm obsessed with this variation. We do it in my PiYo Live class and it's the opposite of easy. Two ways you can count it:

1) Do half of your set with the right leg, then switch legs.

2) Do your first set with the right leg, then your second set with the left leg.

To make it even harder, try pulling your knee underneath to the opposite elbow. Or, take a full core approach and remove the pushup entirely, coming out to a straight arm plank with the knee pull.

Variety is the spice of life, my friends.
And pushup variations sure do make me happy!

Question: What is your favorite pushup variation?


The Frugal Exerciser said...

I love your variations and your pictures. I do the push up to side plank on my knees LOL. I can probably do the full one but I'm cautious of my shoulder on that move. Nice post and thanks for linking up. #wowlinkup

curleedst said...

I absolutely love doing push ups. Once I was able to do them standard style that is all she wrote. Now my coach and trainer have me doing them all types of ways with one leg up, ending up balancing on one hand and one leg and diamond push ups. LOVE!!! #wowlinkup

adailydoseoffit said...

Diamond pushups! Those are killer! Nice work!

adailydoseoffit said...

Thanks for the compliments! Yes, be careful with your shoulder! You might be able to eliminate the pushup and do alternating side planks from forearms to get the core without putting as much stress on your shoulder....

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