Bonus Push-up Challenges
Consider the following variations for some variety if you want a new challenge. These variations can be performed in conditioning workouts but the utility may be best served as strength work or challenges and accessory work to be performed pre- or post-workout.
This variation is performed in the same fashion as the traditional push-up but with a full hand release from the floor. The release of the hands and the lengthened time on the floor takes away some of the stretch reflex advantage of the traditional push-up and increases the difficulty.
Increasing the range of motion increases the difficulty of the push-up and can also provide a stretch for the pecs and shoulders. Athletes can place each hand on a set of plates, dumbbells, kettlebells, parallettes, etc. to provide the additional range of motion. Athletes can still reach their chest towards the floor as long as the range of motion can be achieved without hyperextending the trunk.
The ring push-up provides additional difficulty due to the demand to stabilize the rings. The ring push-up can be a friendly variation for many levels of athletes as it is easy to decrease the difficulty of the movement. Athletes can push the rings forward into an incline position or can even use band assistance to perform the movement.
Regardless of ability level, a push-up can be used for strength training at low reps. If a partner is available, a fun challenge can be to attempt a 3-5-rep-max weighted push-up. Have the partner place the load across the back of their partner’s shoulders while in the starting position and give it a go!
Bands can be used in a variety of ways to increase the difficulty of the movement. A simple variation is to place the band behind the upper back and put each hand in the band. An additional benefit is that banded variations will provide the least resistance at areas of the movement where the athletes are typically weakest (the bottom) and provide the most resistance where athletes are typically strongest (the top).
Varied Hand Placements
Athletes can vary the placement of the hands to provide an additional challenge or to work musculature in a different fashion. The narrow grip or “diamond” push-up is notorious for being difficult to perform. Athletes can get more creative than simply narrowing or widening the hands and can perform push-ups with staggered hand positions, off-set push-ups, or even with the fingers pointing towards the toes.
Similar to how the push-up can be made easier by elevating the hands, the push-up can be made more difficult by elevating the feet. Athletes should still strive to reach the chest to the floor and perform the push-up with sound mechanics. Therefore it is recommended to use a box height that allows the range of motion to be achieved without hyperextending the trunk.
This content was originally published here.