4 Challenging Push Up Variations

Push Ups might seem basic, but they are one of many boxer’s favorite exercise for a reason. Push Ups are a compound movement, which means they engage multiple muscle groups at the same time. With one Push Up, you effectively engage your triceps, pectoral muscles, shoulders and lower back and core muscles. However, in order to keep Push Ups an effective and exciting part of your workout routine, there are several great variations to the traditional Push Up. Incorporating these variations into your daily workouts are important particularly for boxers, as upper body and core strength are key factors to strong boxers.

 Triangle, or Diamond, Push Ups target the triceps and deltoids, effectively working the back of the arms that are sometimes difficult to sculpt. The Triangle Push Up requires some of the most muscle activity across the largest area of the tricep, meaning you will no doubt see results from incorporating Triangle Push Ups in your workout routine. In order to execute this exercise, start in a Push Up position with your thumb and index fingers touching, forming a triangle shape in between your hands. Keeping your elbows tucked in as close to your sides as possible, bend your elbows and lower yourself into a Push Up. The narrow grip forces your triceps, deltoids and abs to work immediately, without the extra forgiveness a traditional Push Up may offer.

 Another challenging variation to increase the difficulty and add a balance component to Push Ups is the Spiderman Push Up. In order to perform the Spiderman Push Up, begin in a traditional push up position and begin to lower yourself by bending your elbows. However, as you bend your elbows and near the lowest point of your Push Up, bring one knee in towards your elbow on the same side of your body, ideally touching your elbow and knee together. As you lift yourself back up into the starting Push Up position, bring your foot back onto the floor and alternate sides. By moving your leg forward, your weight is shifted, forcing your core to stabilize your body and improve your balance. Isolating one side of your body at a time forces you to grow parallel strength on each side, rather than relying on a dominant side of your body.

 Bosu Balls are often a piece of equipment used to challenge your core stability and increase difficulty of exercises, as well. A Bosu Ball Push Up engages your core more than a traditional Push Up and forces your shoulders, arms and glutes to remain highly engaged due to the shifting surface of the Bosu Ball. Flip the Bosu Ball upside down so the level base is facing up and grab each side of the ball as your hand holds. After steadying your core and glutes and finding a stable position on the ball, lower yourself into a Push Up until your chest touches the ball, then return to the starting position. It is important to keep your core engaged as to prevent your lower back from caving in, and to keep your elbows tucked into your body.

 A great way to incorporate your glutes more than they would normally be involved in a Push Up is a Single Leg Raised Push Up. In a Push Up position, raise one leg and squeeze the glute hard at the top. As you perform a Push Up, keep the leg raised and the glute activated. This exercise will help create the lifted glute that many people strive for, as well as further challenges the core without all four limbs on the ground. It is important to not let your leg drop as your perform the Push Up or let your body weight shift to the side of your planted leg. This is a great variation for boxers as the glutes and core play a huge role in each offensive punch thrown.

Next time you’re about to do a Push Up during your workout, consider trying one of the above variations to challenge your body and activate different muscles. Shifting body weight, losing stability and adding extra movements are all effective ways to keep an exercise new and your body guessing, which is important in order to see continued improvement.