adidas / January 2022
5 Minute Read

10 Push-Up Workouts for Total Body Strength

Looking to spice up your workout routine? Learn proper push-up form and try 10 different push-up variations to build full-body strength.

There’s a reason you’ll encounter push-ups in almost any type of fitness routine, and it’s definitely not because they’re easy. From youth P.E classes to HIIT and yoga, push-ups remain a go-to exercise because they give you the most bang for your buck. The compound movement engages multiple muscle groups at once, creating an efficient workout that builds your strength and stamina. From the classic push-up all the way to single-arm variations, you can modify this versatile move to create a killer full-body workout. 

The Fundamentals of Push-Up Form

Before jumping into the workouts, make sure you’re using proper push-up form. These form pointers apply to any push-up variation.
  • Fingers should be spread, pressing into the floor to add stability.
  • For most push-ups, your feet will be hip-width apart. A wider foot position will add more stability, and a narrow foot position will make it more challenging.
  • Keep your back straight and your core and glutes engaged. 
  • Gaze forward and remember to breathe. 

10 Different Types of Push-Ups to Try 

These push-up exercises go from simple to difficult. Go at your own pace; it might take time to develop the strength needed to safely do the more advanced moves. If you’re new to push-ups, you can modify the moves by putting your knees on the ground or leaning against a bench to reduce the pressure on your arms. Be sure to take these push-up workouts with you to the gym by downloading the workout PDF at the end of the article and saving it to your phone.


Starting off with a classic, the standard push-up develops the strength needed for the rest of the variations. When done with correct form, basic push-ups work your entire upper body as well as your core.
How to do it:
  1.  Place your hands on the floor slightly past shoulder-width apart.
  2. Lower yourself down towards the floor, keeping your elbows pointing back.
  3. Just before touching the ground, push up. 


The wide push-up is excellent for targeting your chest muscles. Be sure to avoid taking your hands out too wide, and keep your elbows pointing back to protect your shoulders.
How to do it:
  1. Start with hands slightly past shoulder-width, a bit farther apart than a standard push-up position.
  2. Lower yourself down, keeping your elbows pointing back.
  3. Just before touching the ground, push up. 


Also known as a yoga push-up, this variation works your triceps. Place your feet closer together to challenge your core and arm stability.
How to do it:
  1. Place your hands directly below your shoulders.
  2. Lower yourself down, keeping your elbows tight to your body.
  3. Just before touching the ground, push up, driving with your triceps. 


This push-up goes from a high plank to a low plank, and it’s a burner. You’ll feel it working your core, shoulders and arms, and it’s great for laying to foundation for single-arm strength.
How to do it:
  1. Start in a standard push-up position.
  2. One arm at a time, lower into a forearm plank.
  3. Starting with the same arm, push up into a high plank.
  4. Keep your core engaged and your back and hips straight through the entire move, and alternate which arm starts each time. 


The push-up row functions as a push-and-pull exercise that works your arms and back in two ways. Start with lightweight dumbbells. If your wrists hurt from pushing up on the weights, you can place your hands on the floor for the push-up.
How to do it:
  1. Gripping the weights, perform a standard push-up.
  2. At the top of the push-up, perform a one arm row, alternating arms each time.
  3. Keep hips level by engaging your core and glutes. Place your feet wider to add stability. 


By holding your leg up throughout the push-up, this exercise works your glutes and abs in addition to your upper body.
How to do it:
  1. In a standard position, raise one leg in line with glutes, being careful not to arch your back.
  2. With your core and glutes engaged, lower yourself down and push up.
  3. Without dropping your leg, repeat the move. Repeat the set on the other leg. 


This is like a side plank, but with the added challenge of doing a push-up in between. Your obliques and arms will be burning!
How to do it:
  1. Complete a standard push-up.
  2. At the top, shift your weight to one hand and twist open, shifting to the side of your feet.
  3. Reach for the sky, engaging your core and lifting through your obliques to maintain a straight line.
  4. Lower arm and return to a push-up position. Alternate sides with each rep. 


This position is similar to the popular yoga position, Downward Dog, with the addition of a push-up. This move targets your shoulders, and gives a nice stretch in your hamstrings.
How to do it:
  1. Start in a wide push-up position and pike your hips upward.
  2. Bend your elbows to lower your head toward the ground.
  3. Just before the ground, push up to starting position.
  4. Keep your hips up and your elbows pointing out as you lower into the push-up. 


This dynamic move targets your triceps, chest and core, as well as your balance. Try to keep your leg from touching the floor for maximum effort.
How to do it:
  1. Start in a standard push-up position.
  2. While lowering into the push-up, bring one knee to meet your elbow.
  3. Push up, returning your leg to the starting position. Repeat movement, alternating legs with each rep. 


The most challenging move of the list, this push-up trains single arm strength to help you eventually get to a one-arm push-up. 
How to do it:
  1. Place your hands in a wide push-up position with your fingers pointing out.
  2. Shift your weight to one arm and lower down, extending the other arm straight.
  3. The elbow of your working arm should stay close to your ribs as you lower and push back up.
  4. Shift to the other arm and repeat. 

How to Get Better at Push-Ups 

Wondering how to get better at push-ups? The simple answer is to keep doing them, progressing from low-rep modifications to the full exercise. Push-ups are a total body strengthening workout, so eventually you’ll develop the muscles needed to do these exercises. You can also incorporate weightlifting into your routine and over time you’ll find that push-ups feel a bit easier. 
adidas / January 2022
5 Minute Read