10 Ways to Pushup

Pushups are a necessary evil, really.

10 ways to pushup | fitnessista.com | #pushups #upperbodyexercise

For me, pushups are right up there with putting laundry away and emptying the dishwasher. Not the most fun, but you feel pretty great when it’s over. I think I like them even less because I’m not very good at them. My upper body has always been weak and as much as I’d like to be, I’m not a “let’s have a pushup contest!” kinda girl. But as the yoga saying goes, “The things we like the least are those we need the most.” Or something like that…

Anyway, pushups are an incredible total body strengthening exercise. You use your chest, shoulders and triceps to complete the movement, but you’re also engaging your legs and core. Pushups also increase your heart rate, thus increasing your total calorie burn for the workout. Wins all around. To be honest, though, regular ol’ pushups are kind of boring. I find that I enjoy them more when I switch it up and incorporate different variations of the classic exercise.

Here’s a reminder about basic pushup form.

Pushup variations

Now for pushup variations to keep things exciting during your next workout. πŸ™‚

10 Ways to Pushup

-Modify by completing the pushup on a wall or on your knees. You can place your hands on the wall and step your feet back, or totally switch it up with hands on the floor and feet on the wall

-Pushup on a stability ball (decline pushup). The closer the ball is to your ankles, the more challenging it will be.

-Incline pushup. You can place your hands on a weight bench, BOSU or stability ball with knees or feet on the floor.

-Walking plank and pushup. Stay in a plank position and take 5 steps in one direction and complete one pushups. Walk in plank 5 steps back the other direction and complete another pushup. 


-Walking pushup. As you come up from your pushup, bring one hand to meet the other. Place the opposite hand out to the side and pushup again. Do 5 pushups in one direction and 5 back the other direction.

-Triceps pushup. Keep your elbows glued to your sides for this one and a narrow hand placement. 

tricep pushup

-V pushup. Make a diamond with your hands and come into a “V” position with booty up and heels pressing back (the very first pic of this post). Bend your elbows to come down and squeeze your triceps to come up.

-Pushup and side plank. Add a side plank to the top of the pushup movements.

-Tempo variations. Try coming down for 3 slow counts and up for 1. Intense!

-One-arm pushup. If you’re feeling fancy, add a clap in there too πŸ˜‰ Let me know how that one goes haha.

Hope you got some new ideas to change it up next time!

Pushups: love ’em, or not your fave?

A little challenge for you: set a timer for one minute and do as many pushups as you can within that minute. You can modify if you need to, or stop and take a breather during the minute. Leave a comment to let me know how it went! It’s only 60 seconds πŸ™‚

Have a wonderful day!




10 ways to plank

10 ways to burpee

 20 things to do with a stability ball

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  1. Rhiannon @ Bound to be a Buckeye on February 25, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    Thanks for showing so many ways to mix these up. Your arms and shoulders look uh-mazing in all these pics by the way!!

  2. Rose on February 25, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    I totally agree with the idea of moving out of your comfortzone and not be afraid of trying things you know (or think) you can’t do. If you try for 3-4 times, usually there’s already progression!
    And, whew!!! If you can do diamond pushups, you’re pretty strong, lady!!! Definately no upper body weakness, girl! I can benchpress 100 pounds for reps (wide grip) but those diamond pushups kill me every time, haha!
    Thanks for the inspiration πŸ™‚

    BTW my favorite variation: pushups with my two feet on a small medicineball! It really makes you engage your core πŸ™‚

  3. Jackie on February 25, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    Love the variations!

  4. Cassie Vaughn on February 25, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    Definitely not my favorite, but I feel like chaturangas are sneaky push ups. So I get those in pretty often!

  5. FitBritt@MyOwnBalance on February 25, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    I definitely think the diamond pushup and tricep pushup tie for hardest! I hate doing them but love what they do for my arms!

  6. Stephanie @ Whole Health Dork on February 25, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    I actually really enjoy push-ups, especially doing different variations of them, but haven’t been able to do them for a couple of months thanks to my never-ending tennis elbow drama (MRI this Friday finally!).

    I like the traveling pushup: start in regular position, take left hand wide out to the side, do a push-up, back to center, then take your right hand wide out to the side and do a push-up on that side.

    The ones I dread are the tricep push-up (hurts my wrists!) and the frog push-up (left knee to leg as you go down, come back up, right knee to leg as you go down). I can only do this on my knees.

    Thanks for sharing! Will look forward to trying out some of these once I’m better!

  7. Hillary | Nutrition Nut on the Run on February 25, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    I do love them! Best core exercise out there!

  8. Karra on February 25, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    Can I just say how much I LOVE these pants… push ups, eh. I do tend to put them in every workout because I like how they can work your core.

  9. Katie Hood on February 25, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    Ugh…push ups. I have to admit I do not love them. I have some wrist pain every once in awhile that make them a bit difficult so I modify when needed. But I am definitely getting better at them!

  10. Paige @ Your Trainer Paige on February 25, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    But seriously, emptying the dishwasher really does suck.
    Love the leggings! πŸ™‚

  11. Lex @ Flecks of Lex on February 25, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    Necessary evil is right πŸ™ Those downward dog push ups might be the hardest I’ve ever attempted. Where did you start your push-up journey? On the wall? On your knees in the “girly push-up?”

  12. joelle (on a pink typewriter) on February 25, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    I wrote this on Facebook too, but those leggings are fantastic.

    I sort stink at push-ups, but want to get stronger with them. We did a bunch in barre class last night and I was proud of myself for sticking it out.

  13. Joanna on February 25, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    If I wasn’t 30 weeks pregnant I would do the 60 secs of AMRAP push ups but my belly kind of gets in the way now. I think after I give birth I want to try and improve my pushups – I feel like I do not have good form.

  14. jodie on February 25, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    Great post. Love the pants!! Who makes it?

  15. Liesl@Fitnessinthekitchen on February 25, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    I love pushups, and awesome total body exercise.
    One of my favorites that was not mentioned, the dive bomber pushup. Good stuff.
    I also love diamond pushups, and just plain old wide pushups for a great burn after a chest workout.

  16. lucie on February 25, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    I love pushups. I think pullups are for me what pushups are for you – no like. But pushups are so versatile (as you just showed) and doable everywhere! I’m getting good at them as we do them at Crossfit in almost every class.

  17. Lauren @ Focused To Be Fit on February 25, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    I hate doing them, but I love what they do for my body! Recently, I’ve been using the Bosu to increase the core work, which I love, too!

  18. Megan @ The Skinny-Life on February 25, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    Great post! I am honestly not a push up lover, but your post is inspriring me to try a different one that I maybe like. I love your Reebok pants! Super cute!!!

    • Fitnessista on February 25, 2014 at 6:01 pm

      thank you!

  19. Tracy on February 25, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    My husband and I make each other do five 5-seconds down, 5-seconds up, push ups whenever we curse. It makes you second guess your sailor mouth AND makes you pretty good at push ups! πŸ™‚

    • Fitnessista on February 25, 2014 at 6:00 pm

      i would be doing pushups all the day haha

  20. Brynn on February 25, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    AH, I adore your pants!!

  21. Sara on February 25, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    I do not like push ups but when I do them consistently I really notice a huge difference! Thanks for showing different variations…the triceps push ups always get me…they make my elbow sore?!

  22. Ashley on February 25, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    Push ups are the death of me, lol. I can not do many at all which sucks because I have pretty good upper arm strength from all the riding I do and normal horsey chores. I recently started working out and doing push ups tho. I just use my knees. πŸ™‚

  23. Kim on February 25, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    I used to hate push-ups but love them now and try to do as many different variations as possible. The hardest ones for me have always been tricep push-ups and no matter how often I do them I struggle every time!!!

  24. Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine on February 25, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    I love push-ups! Planks and Push-ups are my two favorite exercises of all time πŸ˜‰ They are an everyday essential for me!

  25. Gianna @ Run, Lift, Repeat on February 25, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    Pushups are a necessary evil. We do tricep pushups in body pump and well lets just say I am pathetically weak.

    But more importantly. THE PANTS. I need those in my life! Where are they from?!

  26. Mike Luque on February 25, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    Great posts. I’ve actually had people tell me and seen people write that push ups are boring. Personally, I think they’re using that as an excuse! Push ups are such a great functional motion.

    If you’d like to try a really really nasty variation, put your feet against a wall at about the same height your shoulders are off the ground. Attempting the push ups while trying to maintain strength into the wall is brutal!

  27. Kara on February 25, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    Just did 35 in 1 minute! Thanks for the motivation! I’ve started to enjoy doing them after my husband convinced me that I was strong enough to do regular ones vs. “girl” ones. I couldn’t believe I was really able do them! Who knew husbands could be right at times!? Pull-ups are another story. I can’t do a single one. I attempted practicing reverse pull-ups but was so sore the next day that I haven’t tried again–it’s definitely a goal though!

  28. Amy on February 25, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    I love seeing all those push up varieties! I started doing push ups again last night for the first time in a little over 2 years. I decided I need to just get back to it.

  29. Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries on February 25, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    Push ups are definitely one of those exercises that I love to hate. They are HARD for me, but they work so many upper body muscles, that I love them.

  30. Kim @ FITsique on February 25, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    I don’t mind push ups but I really don’t do them enough. I typically focus on the weights. This is a good reminder to reincorporate some body weight work into my workouts. In gymnastics we always had to do “pike” pushups where your feet are up on a box and your shoulders and head are directly on top of your hands, kind of like a modified handstand. I used to HATE them like that!

  31. Kelly @ Femme Fitale on February 25, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    I’m with you! Pushups are pretty much my fitness nemesis. My legs are naturally much stronger than my upper body, so it’s always been a struggle, no matter what kind of shape I’m in. I teach Body Attack, and it’s been an amazing challenge for me, as track 5 is always a tough push up one! And as you know, when you are teaching, you can’t slack off!

    I love regular pushups, as well as the 3-pulse or slow up variations. Have you tried Scorpion Pushups Γ  la Jillian Michaels? I can only do a handful, but they are so so good!

  32. Vicki on February 25, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    Oh I wish I could do a single push up. I can do a few on my knees, but I still struggle. I find it odd because generally I consider myself fairly fit and can lift pretty heavy, but no push ups!

  33. Abi@AbsofSteel on February 25, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    I love pushups! I’m not really sure why though cause they’re really hard. I guess I like feeling capable of doing them. One of my favorite variations is the down dog pushup.

  34. Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs on February 25, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    Great variations!

    I like pushups when I’m diligent about working on them regularly — it’s satisfying to be able to do a bunch in a row! πŸ™‚

  35. Karissa on February 25, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    YERP I’m with you on the not so much loving push-ups thing! I have to do them for my job AND agree that they’re one of those “hate to do ’em but feel awesome afterwards!” things – I had not really seen a few of these! I really love some of Shaun T’s spins on push-ups like the push-up jack …. ok maybe “love” isn’t the right word but variations like that keep the move from being too boring and work more muscles.
    I really appreciate your posts like this!

  36. Danielle Roseboom on February 25, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    I just wanted to say how much I have loved the winter shape up videos!! They are great and I am still doing all 4 of them!!! Thanks again!!

    • Fitnessista on February 25, 2014 at 11:56 pm

      thank you so much! i’m so happy you’re enjoying them πŸ™‚

  37. Angelica on February 25, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    OMGGG LOVE those leggings!!!

    I am at a point where I’m trying to perfect my form so I look forward to push ups but dread them because they’re hard work.

  38. Runner Girl Eats on February 25, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    I hate pushups, but love this post. I feel so good after a pushup workout but hardly ever do them because I feel so awful during. Maybe one of these will change my mind on them πŸ™‚

  39. Lauren @ The Bikini Experiment on February 25, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    Love seeing all the variations! Great tights by the way.

    • Fitnessista on February 25, 2014 at 11:55 pm

      thank you! reebok ftw πŸ™‚

  40. Meg @ A Dash of Meg on February 25, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    you’re awesome babe! it’s my goal to do handstand pushups soon !! <3

    • Fitnessista on February 25, 2014 at 11:55 pm

      you will do it πŸ™‚ xoxo

      • Fitnessista on February 25, 2014 at 11:55 pm


        • Meg @ A Dash of Meg on February 26, 2014 at 7:42 am

          awwwww Gina <3 thank you so much. Wouldn't it be fun to get together and wedding plan!? HEHE! <3 I still think about your comment you left me while at Whole Foods <3 YOU ARE THE BEST MY LOVE πŸ˜€ Making me feel so special πŸ˜‰

  41. Alison @ Daily Moves and Grooves on February 25, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    I LOVE pushups! They are definitely a necessary evil πŸ˜‰ Some tough variations that I’ve been loving lately include hand-release, BOSU, and reptile pushups (stagger hand positions and alternate bringing one knee to your elbow). Oof.

  42. Maria on February 25, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    I HATE push-ups but I have to do them every year for my Air Force PT test. After attending Barre Bee fit on a regular basis (which is very push-up/plank intensive) I maxed out for the first time ever, doing 47 in 54 seconds πŸ™‚

  43. Livi on February 25, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    ugh it’s a love-hate relationship. I definitely love the feeling I get afterward, but they kill me every time!

  44. Traci on February 25, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    I like the timing of this because I’ve been trying to push myself to gain more strength and push ups are the best way to test it!

  45. Laura @FitMamaLove on February 26, 2014 at 1:28 am

    Triceps push-ups kill me! They are so good, but I hate them.

  46. Brittney on March 1, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    Hi Gina!!!

    LOVE the pants!!! Would you say they fit true to size?? Looked on the site and just wondering if I should get a small or a medium? Some reviewers say fits big but I want to avoid the too tight shear look haha.

    • Fitnessista on March 2, 2014 at 1:10 am

      i think they fit pretty true to size. mine are a size small and i usually wear an xs or small. they stretch a lot though! i’d get whatever size you buy most often

      • Brittney on March 2, 2014 at 1:25 am

        Perfect!! Thank you so much!!!

  47. Treble909 on March 2, 2014 at 10:16 am

    I get a kind of twingey-pain in my elbows when I do push ups and sometimes the twinge goes all the way down my arm. I usually just do from-knees ones. Any idea why I might be getting this pain? I don’t do them very often for that reason, so it’s not an over use thing. I really need to get better at them!

    And love your leggings πŸ™‚

    • Fitnessista on March 2, 2014 at 5:08 pm

      i would focus on building arm strength and do them on your knees. you don’t have to do them on your toes!

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