7 Essential Push Up Variations That Build Your Entire Body

7 Essential Push Up Variations That Build Your Entire Body

Push-ups are a classic, effective exercise that target multiple muscle groups simultaneously. They’re a staple in any workout routine, offering versatility and scalability to suit various fitness levels. If you’re looking to take your push-up game to the next level and build strength across your entire body, incorporating different variations is the way to go. Here are seven essential push-up variations that will challenge your muscles and help you achieve a full-body workout.

1. Standard Push-Up

Let’s start with the basics. The standard push-up is a fundamental exercise that targets the chest, shoulders, triceps, and core. Begin in a plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart and palms flat on the ground. Lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor, then push back up to the starting position. Focus on keeping your core engaged and your body in a straight line throughout the movement.

2. Wide Grip Push-Up

To emphasize your chest muscles, try the wide grip push-up. Place your hands wider than shoulder-width apart while maintaining the plank position. This variation places more emphasis on the pectoral muscles, offering a great way to build chest strength and definition.

3. Close Grip Push-Up

Conversely, the close grip push-up targets the triceps more intensely. Bring your hands closer together, directly under your shoulders. As you perform the push-up, you’ll feel the burn in your triceps as they work to lift your body weight. This variation also engages the chest and shoulders but with a focus on the back of the arms.

4. Decline Push-Up

Elevating your feet during a push-up changes the angle of the exercise, placing greater emphasis on the upper chest and shoulders. Find a stable surface, such as a bench or a step, and place your feet on it while assuming the plank position. Perform push-ups as usual, feeling the challenge as your upper body works against gravity.

5. Incline Push-Up

On the flip side, the incline push-up shifts focus to the lower chest and triceps. Place your hands on an elevated surface, such as a bench or a sturdy platform, while keeping your feet on the ground. Lower your body until your chest nearly touches the elevated surface, then push back up. This variation is excellent for those working on building strength for full push-ups or looking to target the lower chest area.

6. Diamond Push-Up

The diamond push-up, also known as the triangle push-up, is a challenging variation that hones in on the triceps and inner chest. Form a diamond shape with your hands by touching your thumbs and index fingers together on the ground. Perform push-ups with your hands in this position, feeling the intense engagement of your triceps as they power the movement.

7. Plyometric Push-Up

For those seeking an explosive and dynamic challenge, the plyometric push-up is an excellent choice. Begin in a standard push-up position and lower your body as usual. As you push back up, explode off the ground with enough force to lift your hands off the floor. Clap your hands together before landing softly back in the starting position. Plyometric push-ups not only build strength but also improve power and speed.

Incorporating Push-Up Variations Into Your Routine

Now that you have an arsenal of push-up variations at your disposal, how can you incorporate them into your workout routine? Consider creating a circuit-style workout where you perform each variation for a set number of reps or time before moving on to the next. For example:

  1. Standard Push-Ups: 10 reps
  2. Wide Grip Push-Ups: 12 reps
  3. Close Grip Push-Ups: 15 reps
  4. Decline Push-Ups: 10 reps
  5. Incline Push-Ups: 12 reps
  6. Diamond Push-Ups: 15 reps
  7. Plyometric Push-Ups: 8 reps

Complete 3 rounds with a minute of rest between rounds. Adjust the reps and sets according to your fitness level, aiming to challenge yourself while maintaining proper form.


Push-ups are a versatile and effective exercise for building strength and muscle across your entire body. By incorporating these seven essential variations into your routine, you can target different muscle groups, improve stability, and enhance overall fitness. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned fitness enthusiast, there’s a push-up variation for everyone. Challenge yourself, stay consistent, and watch your body transform with these powerful exercises.

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