5 Push-Up Variations For Strong, Sculpted Arms

Certified Personal Trainer By Krista Stryker, NSCA-CPT
Certified Personal Trainer
Krista Stryker, NSCA-CPT is the author of The 12-Minute Athlete: Get Fitter, Faster, and Stronger Using HIIT and Your Bodyweight and a leading expert on HIIT and bodyweight fitness. She lives in Venice, California, and is a certified personal trainer through the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

While there's no doubt that the regular push-up is a fantastic all around exercise to build a super strong, sculpted upper body, sometimes it's just fun to mix things up a bit! Here are five push-up variations for a strong upper body.

Diamond Push-Up

Diamond push-ups are an amazing exercise for your entire upper body, but will really target your triceps (great for the upcoming tank top season!).

Start in a push-up position with your hands in a diamond shape on the ground beneath your chest, fingers touching or almost touching. While keeping your elbows as close to your sides as possible, lower yourself down while keeping your chest high and your core tight. Raise back up to the starting position and repeat.

Beginner version: Do diamond push-ups while on your knees or with your hands on an elevated surface (like a bench or a wall).

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Push-Up Plank Jumps

Push-up plank jumps are a fun variation of a regular push up that includes some core and plyometric work as well.

Start in a push-up position, tighten your core and lower down into a full push up. Raise yourself back up, then rather going back down for another push up, jump your feet toward your hands instead. Jump back into the starting push-up position and repeat for one rep.

Beginner version: Rather than lowering your chest all the way to the floor on the push up, just go down as far as you can (yes, even if it's only a few inches). You'll build up strength with time and consistency.

Dive Bomber Push-Ups

Dive bomber push-ups are a fun alternative that will help build a strong, sculpted upper body and really cause your arms to burn (in a good way!).

Start in a downward dog position, then bend your elbows and drop your chest to the floor as you push forward. Pause when you've pushed your body forward and up, then bend your elbows and drop your chest back down to the floor. Push back up to the starting position and repeat.

Beginner version: Instead of the regular push down and back on the way up, just ease yourself back into downward dog to make this one easier.

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Elevated Push-Up

Elevated push-ups are a great way to work your chest, arms and core and look super strong as you're doing them!

Start in a plank position with your feet on a box or elevated surface with your hands on the floor in front of you. Lower down into a push-up so your chest is close to or touching the floor, then push back up and repeat.

Beginner version: Do elevated push-ups with your knees on a bench instead of your feet, or simply do regular knee push ups to build up strength.

Reptile Push-Up

Reptile push-ups not only look impressive, they're a great exercise to work your upper body and core muscles at the same time.

Start in a push-up position with your shoulders directly over your hands and tighten your core. While lowering your chest to the floor, bring one knee toward your elbow on the same side of the body. Push yourself back up and repeat on the opposite side.

Beginner version: Put your hands on an elevated surface and do reptile push-ups from there.

Photos courtesy of author

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