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Try these 5 push-up variations for a strong and toned upper body

There are various forms of push-ups that can be done to enhance upper body strength and build muscles.
exercise for shoulder pain
Tone for the upper body with these push-up variations! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Grace Bains Published: 30 May 2021, 11:00 am IST
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Most of you are familiar with the classic push-ups exercise. This movement is a fantastic conditioning exercise that engages the upper body and helps target multiple muscle groups such as the chest, shoulders and arms. 

Currently, this exercise is extremely useful as your workout regime must have been impacted by Covid-19, considering the social distancing norms and lockdown measures. In such a situation, you could focus your energy on working out at home and push-ups will help you build muscle strength and improve mobility. 

While you might have tried the classical general push up, there are various forms of doing this exercise. So, we present to you five different variations of push-ups to build a strong upper body: 

1. General push-ups (military)

This movement improves muscular endurance and the size of your chest muscles, front shoulders and triceps.

  • Start with your hands underneath your shoulders and toes on the floor.
  • Brace your core and align your hips to form a straight line with your body.
  • Keeping your weight on your arms, bend your elbows to lower your chest towards the floor.
  • Hold the pose as close to the floor as possible without touching it.
  • Press back up powerfully to return to the start position. Repeat this at least 10-15 times to start with.
2. Diamond push-ups

This variation strengthens the upper body and core and targets the triceps.

  • Begin in a plank position with your hands together and angled inward at 45 degrees, making your index fingers and thumbs touch ( forming a triangle or diamond). 
  • Keep your elbows close to your body and bend them while lowering your chest towards the ground.  
  • Press back up to the starting position for one repetition. 
  • Keep the diamond position directly below your chest throughout the movement for best impact.
  • Repeat this at least 10-15 times.
3. Pike push-ups

This particular form engages the core and helps build shoulders.    

  • Start in a downward dog yoga position.
  • Ensure that your feet and hands are placed slightly wider than shoulder-width. 
  • Keep your hips high, heels low and maintain the ‘inverted-V’ position. 
  • Bend your elbows and lower your head towards the floor between your hands. 
  • Press back up to the starting position for one repetition. Repeat this at least 10-15    times.
4. Plank push-ups

This movement strengthens your arms, chest and core muscles. 

push-up variations
Ladies, make the most out of those core-strengthening planks.
  • Begin by getting into a standard push up position.
  • Now get into a plank position on your elbows. 
  • Make sure your elbows are directly underneath your shoulders and then lower your chest towards the ground. 
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together and then drive through your forearms to push yourself back up. This will be 1 repetition. 
  • Repeat thi at least 10-15 times.
5. Knee push-ups: Beginners special

Knee push-ups are a great way for beginners to get comfortable with this exercise, tone chest muscles and enhance upper body strength. This variation helps manage the bodyweight that induces strain while performing the movement. 

  • Begin by supporting your body with your knees instead of your toes. 
  • You may lift your feet and cross your calves in the air or rest them on the floor, as per your comfort. 
  • Get in the plank position and place your hands directly beneath your shoulders. 
  • Slowly lower your upper body to the floor using your arm and shoulder muscles. 
  • Press back up to the starting position. Repeat at least 15-20 times.

So ladies, try these push-ups variations to enhance your upper body strength but make sure that your form is correct and your back is straight at all times to avoid injuries.


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About the Author

Grace is someone who likes writing enough to make a living out of it. When she isn’t writing, you will find her having chai and reading a book. ...Read More

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