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The Top 15 Pushup Variations

Make the most out of this basic upper-body muscle builder.
Man doing push up.

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The beauty of the pushup is that you can do it anywhere, anytime. It's a great all-encompassing exercise that hits not only your arms and chest but also gets a burn going in your core. The only downside is that busting out the same old up-and-down routine day after day can start to feel tedious. So it might be time to switch it up with a few new challenging moves. You'll feel more motivated, diversify the muscle groups you're hitting, and build muscle and strength in places your average-Joe pushup wouldn't even dream of touching. We tapped Anthony J. Yeung C.S.C.S. and strength coach at PUSH Private Fitness in Toluca Lake, CA, to see how many different variations he could come up with.   

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1) Wide-grip pushup 

Target area: chest.

Start from a  normal pushup position but spread your hands wider than shoulder length. This will force your chest to pick up the brunt of the work from your triceps and shoulders

2) Narrow-grip pushup

Target area: triceps.

Do normal a normal pushup with your hands just a few inches apart from each other underneath your chest. 

3) T-pushup

Target area: full-body workout.

Start from the pushup position. Take one hand off the ground and raise it straight up in the air (making a T-shape out of your body). Keep your eyes locked on your raised hand. Repeat for your other side. Add dumbbells to the routine to increase the intensity of the workout. "T-pushups hammer your entire upper body," says Yeung. "Not only are you targeting your chest, but you're also strengthening your shoulders, opening up your thoracic spine [midback], and building rotational power through your core." 

4) Single-leg pushup

Target area: intensifies work on upper body and core.

Lift one leg up off the ground and do a set. Switch legs on the next set. 

5) Feet-elevated pushups

Target area: intensifies work on upper body and core.

Do a normal pushup, but with your feet elevated on a stable platform like a box or bench. The higher the platform, the more you'll work your shoulders, chest, core, and scapular stabilizers (the muscles that connect your neck, midback, and shoulders). 

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