I'm going to share with you what I call the evolution of pushups, giving you several different pushups starting with the easiest to the hardest.
You can add these to your workout program and build a great upper body and a flat stomach without having to use a lot of equipment or go the gym to get these done. You can do these with just a stability ball and a bench, and that's it!
An Easy Starter Pushup
We're going to start with the first pushup which is generally the easiest.
You will do a pushup on the stability ball. For the easiest version, you will bring the ball closer to your knees so you are just supporting a bit of your bodyweight.
If that is too easy, you can make it harder by positioning the ball back farther and balancing your toes on it. This will force you to hold the ball in place which will make it harder. This will make your abs work harder.
The classic pushup is next.
You will take a slightly wider than shoulder width position with your hands, keeping your body in a straight line. You can make this harder by holding it half way down or holding it at the bottom or on the way up. Your abdominals are going to work hard during pushups because you have to keep your body in a straight line.
Next up is a close grip pushup.
You want to position your hands shoulder width apart and tuck your elbows close into your sides. That way you will work your triceps. Keep your body in a straight line, making sure to keep your elbows tucked in. With any pushup, you can make it harder by simply going slower on the way down.
Pushups That Work Your Abs
Offset or staggered stance pushups are next.
That will help you to work your torso better than regular pushups. This will work your serratus anterior muscles which come down like fingers across your ribs. One hand is out slightly in front of the other. You can walk forward with each repetition which will also work your abdominals more.
With elevated pushups, you'll need something about 4-6 inches off of the floor. One hand will be elevated and the other on the floor. Again, like the
offset pushups, these will work your serratus anterior muscles.
T-pushups are also a great way to work your abdominal muscles.
You will do a classic pushup down and when you come back up, you will rotate up into the "T" position, alternating sides.
Decline pushups are going to work your upper chest and shoulders a little more. Put your feet up on the bench and lower down into a pushup. You can
control how difficult these are by slowing it down or by adding the close grip version by bringing your hands closer together and keeping your elbows
tucked into your sides.
Spiderman pushups are next. Slowly lower down and at the same time bring your knee out to the side and up to your elbow, alternating sides. These are
great for you abs. If you can do 12 on each side, you are doing great for your pushups.
You can combine some of these pushups by doing a decline and Spiderman pushup at the same time. Put your feet up on the bench and as you lower your
body down, keep your knee out to the side as you bring it down to your elbow.
Use Those Pushups For Variety In Your Workouts
That is the evolution of pushups from easy to hardest. There are many different types and variations to do and a lot of them are focusing on your
abdominals and obviously your chest, shoulders & triceps. Your lats will even feel these if you do a lot of pushups.
You will definitely get a total upper body workout just by choosing different pushup variations and will add variety to your fat loss workouts.
Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS