The Classic Pushup

Chris Carlson's last class. Good luck at BUD/S. You are going to do great.

The pushup is a true staple of exercise that has stood the test of time. In fact, it is probably the most ubiquitous exercise movement there is. The current world record is apparently a stunning 10,507 performed non-stop (knees never touching ground?), set in 1980. The record for the most in one hour is 3,877. I can’t even fathom it.

The basic pushup is an excellent movement for strengthening the chest, arms, and shoulder girdle, as well as the muscles comprising the midline.  If you are one of those people for whom pushups do not pose an overly large challenge, it is time to get creative.  Below are a few equipment-less pushup variations that will increase the difficulty of the basic pushup without having to do a lot more repetitions.

Knuckle pushups. These strengthen the wrists and forearm, and are excellent for fighters and for people for whom wrist extension is a problem.

Wrist pushups. Another great way to strengthen the wrists and forearms, but quite painful on harder surfaces.

Fingertip pushups-the classic martial arts pushup. These are great for strengthening the fingers, hands, wrists, and forearms.

3 Finger Pushups. A harder variation of the fingertip pushup. You can also do 2 finger (thumb and index finger) pushups or thumb pushups, but neither my brother or I could demo them for a photo.

Superman pushups. These are much harder on the midline.

Plyometric pushups. The clapping pushup is the most common, but you can also do chest slap pushups, or even behind the back clapping pushups. The most basic version is to just get an inch or two of air under your hands at the top of the push. Plyo pushups can also be done with props such as stacked bumpers, boxes, etc.

1 Arm Pushups. Rocky's favorite!

Dead stop pushups such as the hand release pushups that are the Current Games standard, as well as variations where one leg is off the ground and extended to the side, are also great equipment-less variations.

What are your favorite pushup variations? Please post to Comments.


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