Push ups are one of the best bodyweight exercises of all time to work your entire upper body and core muscles.
Not only do they require your entire body to work together in order to properly perform the exercise (meaning they’re super functional!), they also use absolutely no equipment—meaning you can do push ups absolutely anytime, anywhere. And adding them to your workouts or even just busting out a couple of sets in the morning will help you build up strength before you know it.
Note to beginners: You can do any of these styles of push ups while on your knees or with your hands on an elevated surface. No excuses!
Here are 9 ways to mix up your push ups to keep them interesting and mix up your training:
#1: Boxer Push Ups
Boxer push ups will add some extra core work to your push ups, plus they’re a little more dynamic which always makes it a little more fun.
To do them, start in a push up position, with your shoulders directly over your hands. Tighten your abs and glutes, then lower yourself down so that your chest touches the floor. Push yourself back up into the starting position, then immediately bring one knee towards your opposite arm. Do another push up and then repeat on the opposite side.
#2: Diamond Push Ups
Diamond push ups are a classic triceps strengthening exercise that tend to be much harder than regular wider arm push ups for most people.
Start in a push up position with your hands formed in a diamond position with your elbows close to or touching your side. Get everything tight, then lower yourself down so that your chest touches the floor while keeping your elbows as far in as possible. Push yourself back up and repeat.
#3: Explosive Push Ups
Explosive push ups are an amazing way to build upper body power and strength. People who are really good at these can explode high enough so they get both their arms and feet parallel to the ground or jump up onto something really high, but you have to start somewhere!
To do a clapping push up, get in a push up position, then bend your elbows so that your chest is a few inches above the floor. Push up explosively, clapping your hands as you reach the top position before landing back into a push up.
If these are too tough for you at first, start by doing a small push so that your hands slightly pop up off of the ground at the top position (see 1:04 in the video for a demonstration).
#4: Uneven Push Ups
Uneven push ups will force you to work one side more than the other and help you work towards doing one arm push ups.
To do them, start in a push up position with one hand resting on a medicine ball, basketball, or even just a really thick book. Keep your core tight, then lower down into a full push up before pushing back up. Make sure to work both sides!
#5: Ball Transfer Push Ups
Ball transfer push ups are a more dynamic variation of uneven push ups.
To do them, grab a medicine ball or other small ball, get in a push up position with your left hand resting on the ball. Lower down and do a push up, then roll the ball towards your right hand, and do another push up. Roll the ball back to the starting position and repeat.
#6: Traveling Reptile Push Ups
Traveling reptile push ups are an extra fun (ok, that is definitely subjective) and dynamic version of the core-focused reptile or spiderman push up. Travel far and feel the burn!
To do them, start in a push up position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. While lowering your chest to the floor, bring one knee toward your elbow on the same side of the body. Push back up, and as you do so, walk one leg and the opposite arm forward. Lower back down into a reptile push up, then repeat as you switch sides and continue to travel forward.
#7: Push Up Plank Jumps
Push up plank jumps will strengthen both your upper body and abs while getting your heart rate up as well.
Start in a push up position, with your shoulders directly over your hands. Tighten your core and glutes, then lower yourself down so that your chest touches the floor. Push back up, then jump your feet toward your hands. Jump back to the starting push up position and repeat.
#8: Dive Bomber Push Ups
Dive bomber push ups work your chest and arms while giving your lower back a bit of a stretch.
Start in a downward dog position, then bend your elbows and drop your chest to the floor. Push forward, pausing when you have pushed your body forward and up. Reverse the move by bending your elbows and dropping your chest back down to the floor. Push back up to the starting position and repeat.
#9: Wide Push Ups
Wide push ups will work your chest more than regular push ups or triceps push ups—don’t be surprised if you’re sore the next day after doing these.
Get in a push up position with your arms wider than shoulder width apart. Tighten your core, then lower down with control so that your chest touches the floor. Push back up explosively and repeat.