Updated 19 August 2016

5 push-up variations

Bored with ordinary push-ups and looking for a little something extra? Try these 5 push-up variations to add some spice to your workout.


Push-ups are a great exercise, but there comes a point where they might no longer be ‘doing it’ for you anymore. Whether you’re bored of regular push-ups or just looking to spice things up a little on the gym floor, these five variations will give you the challenge you’ve been looking for.

1. One-arm push-up

The one-arm push-up not only looks impressive, but if you manage to do them right you will find vast improvements in your strength.

To do it: Begin with your feet wider than usual and use just one arm to do the push-up. Keep your elbow close to your body and tuck your other arm behind your back.

2. Band push-ups

Use a resistance band to make the regular push-up much more challenging. The thicker the resistance band, the harder the push-up.

To do it: Hold one end of the resistance band in each hand and loop it over your upper back. Then do a push-up as you normally would. The band will provide quite a bit of resistance and not only fire up your triceps, but it will help you build strength on the negative portion of the push-up.

3. Drop push-ups

This type of explosive push-up is not for the faint-hearted and requires a lot of strength. It’s definitely not one for beginners.

To do it: Place a low box/ step under each hand and make sure there is enough space between them for you to drop down your chest and arms.  Begin at the top of the push-up, hands on boxes, feet on ground. Then drop down between the boxes and catch yourself at the bottom of the push-up position and explosively push back up so your hands land back on the boxes.

4. Elevated push-ups

By elevating your feet or inverting yourself into a handstand, you change the muscles which are being used for the push-up and make it far more challenging.

To do it: For a basic elevated push-up, all you need to do is elevate your feet on a stable box or step. The higher the box, the more you will force your shoulders, core and upper back to work to stabilise you. 

To make it even harder kick up into a handstand against a wall and try lowering yourself down so your head touches the floor/mat before pushing back up.

5. Atomic push-up

For a push-up that will work your whole body, get yourself a suspension trainer and do some atomic push-ups. Your abs may give out before your arms do.

To do it: Hook your feet into the suspension trainer so they’re elevated slightly above the floor. Then do a regular push-up but as you come back to the top of the position, pull both knees in to your chest then extend them again and repeat.

Read more:

The luscious legs workout

Weight training for men

Pool exercise may build strength

Sources: Breaking Muscle;


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Gut health »

Can't lose weight? Blame it on your gut

Our nutrition experts weigh in on why gut health is such an important factor in weight loss, on World Obesity Day.

Sleep better »

Yes, there is such a thing as too much sleep

A new study confirms that too little sleep can impair your brain, but interestingly, too much sleep is also a problem.