8 Great Ways to Change Up Your Pushups

couple doing pushupsWhen you think of the most amazing fitness routines or the best exercise programs ever, good ole’ pushups might not be the first thing that comes to mind. But think again.

Pushups are classic because they work—in fact, they’re one of the most versatile and effective exercises you can do. Getting bored? Give your pushups a little makeover!

The beauty of a pushup is how simple it is to begin with. It packs a lot of punch in so many great places (abs, back, chest, shoulders, arms, anyone?), yet takes up very little space and time. Plus, no equipment required!

But just because it’s simple, doesn’t make it easy. It’s best to nail down your basic pushup form before you start playing with these variations.

Once you are ready to experiment (when you can do regular sets of 15 standard pushups), try adding some spice to your sets with these eight change-ups.

Wide Arms: Do these just like your regular pushups, but move your hands a few inches farther apart to set up. This targets your chest muscles a bit more.

Elbows In: Do these just like regular pushups, but move your hands closer to your body and keep your elbows in, pointed back toward your ankles. Extra triceps with these.

Decline: Do your pushups with your feet elevated several inches on a stable surface, such as a bench. This creates a more challenging pushup as you work against gravity.

Hands on Ball: Place your hands on a stability ball underneath your shoulders, instead of the floor. The instability of the ball beneath you creates extra work for your core.

One Foot: For these, simply raise one foot off the ground. If they seem a little too tough, stack the toes of one foot on the heel of the other. A little less stable, harder all over.

Slow Down: As you lower yourself down, slow way down. But rise back up to the starting position in normal time. This slower downward phase builds strength fast.

Shoulder Taps: When you’re at the top of a pushup on straight arms, pose to tap one shoulder with the opposite hand. Alternate back and forth. It’s an isometric bonus move.

Up and Open: At the top of each pushup, rotate open to pose on one arm, raise the other arm to the sky and stack the legs. Come back to center; repeat on the other side. Core and balance!

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