Working out is an important part of your daily lifestyle. It helps you keep your body fit and ensures you can maintain your desired composition. There are many exercises that you can choose from, with push ups being quite a popular choice. After a while, the classic push up position can start to feel boring. It may no longer give you the challenge you desire.

More challenging push ups is a great way to up your game and even further benefit from your exercises. This post explores push up variations that you can use to add a great challenge to your workout routine.

What Is A Push Up?

Push ups are some of the most common exercises that people do. They have been around for a long time and offers many benefits. The classic push up forms part of body weight workouts. This means the exercise does not require any type of equipment or gym hardware to perform. Instead, the workout uses your own body’s weight in order to create resistance while you exercise.

While there are variations of push ups, the idea behind the exercise involves getting on the floor. You ground your hands and feet on the floor, then use your arms to push your upper body up and down. Push ups are great for building strength. This is why it often forms part of calisthenics and other strength training workouts. In addition to helping with strength, you may also find that push ups gives you the ability to tone your upper body.

The History And Evolution Of Push Ups

Exercise has played an important role in the world for centuries. Working out ensured people were able to stay fit for many years. Over the years, workouts have evolved significantly, but many of the exercises we do today still uses the foundations that were laid by our ancestors.

There are some conflict when it comes to discussing the history of push ups. Some literature have shown that push ups may date back to the ancient Roman and Greek times.

While the standard push up position was used for a long time, in the modern day, we see many alternations as workouts evolve. A calisthenics push upvariation can help to make the workout more challenging. People now perform everything from a one arm push up to a superman push up.

Push ups have also been used as part of military training for an extended period of time. While military programs may focus on regular push ups, some also include variations, such as the aztec push up and pike push ups.

What Muscles Do Push Ups Work?

If you want to add a specific exercise to your workout routine, it is important to ensure you know which muscles it will work. There are several muscles that you can work with regular push ups. By knowing what muscles standard push ups work, it is possible to create a better balance in your workout routine. We are going to take a closer look at the muscles you can focus on with push ups below.

  • Pectoralis major: The pectoralis major is involved in the process of pushing your torso upward and bringing it back down again.
  • Pectoralis minor: Push ups also works on the pectoralis minor. You will engage these muscles when you hold your shoulder blades in the right position. This helps with posture and works on the pectoralis minor.
  • Triceps: The triceps are responsible for helping you extend your arms when you life your chest off the ground. You also work on these muscles as you bring your body back to ground.
  • Anterior deltoids: You rely on the anterior deltoids to keep your body stable during a push up. These deltoids will also help with the process of moving your arms inward during the workout, which helps to strengthen and tone the muscles.
  • Core muscles: While push ups have a significant impact on the arms and chest muscle groups, you also engage your core during the workout. Whether you do traditional push ups or a variation, you can use these exercises to work on your entire upper body.

Hardest Push Up Variations

There are many push up variation options that you can try out. Some of these push ups are harder than others. To help you understand which ones are great for adding to your workout routine, we will look at some of the most challenging variations you should consider.

One Arm Push Ups

The one arm push up is a great choice for people who want to increase the difficulty of the exercises they perform. The push up position requires only one hand grounded on the floor.

With this variation, you can effectively work on your chest, deltoids, balance, and your stability. The exercise also targets your abdominal muscles.

When you perform a one arm push up, you’ll follow the same position and instructions of a regular one. Place only one hand on the floor and extend the other arm along the side of your body. Switch hands frequently.

Plyometric Push Ups

When you want to build more power throughout your entire body, then plyometric push ups are a great choice. They are excellent for also improving your explosive power for heavy lifting and other strength training workouts.

This particular variation helps to engage your upper body muscles more effectively. You’ll also get a cardio workout with plyometric push ups.

You will begin in a traditional push up position. Bring your body down toward the ground, then add more force to the process of pushing your body back up. The idea is to add an explosive force that pushes your body into the air. Many people will clasp their hands once they reach a standing position and then immediately go back down.

Archer push Ups

A great option for building stability and strength is the archer push up. It is a variation of the more traditional push up. Instead of having your hands shoulder width apart, you will place one hand more outward than the other one.

The workout is great for the pectoralis major, the triceps, and your core muscle groups. In order to maintain your balance, you will also need to engage your leg muscles. This makes it a great option for the entire body.

Techniques For Proper Push Up Form

The form and position you use for a push up can affect your performance and how effective your workouts are. Proper form is also important to help reduce your risk of injuring yourself during a workout session.

Here are a few tips that you should keep in mind:

  • Being a push up in a plank position. Even with variations, you should still start out with this particular position.
  • When you lower your body toward the ground, bend your elbows. Don’t allow your body to bend.
  • Focus on using a good range of motion to ensure you engage multiple muscles effectively.
  • You also have to focus on your breathing. Breath in as you bring your body closer to the floor, then exhale as you push your body back up.

Tips And Tricks For Improving Push Up Performance

The right form plays an important part in ensuring you do your push ups properly. Whether you want to try pseudo planche push ups, dive bomber push ups, or other advanced push up variations, you need to make sure you know how to have a proper form.

Here are a few other tips to keep in mind:

  • Make sure you engage your core when you do your push ups.
  • You should eat a diet that is rich in protein to support muscle growth.
  • Get plenty of rest to support your body throughout the recovery process.
  • Find a good balance in push up variations. Don’t rely on just one, but rather mix things up to keep your workout program interesting.

Common Mistakes To Avoid When Doing Push Ups

There are a couple of mistakes that people often make when they perform push ups. These mistakes can occur with knee push ups, blast off push ups, and several other variations too. They can significantly reduce the overall efficiency that a push up offers your upper and lower body.

Here are some of the most important mistakes that you should avoid:

  • Try to push your chest as close to the ground as possible. If you do not go all the way down, then you won’t activate your chest muscles completely.
  • Make sure your hips don’t sag and that your elbows are not flaring outward. These positions can actually increase your risk of injury.
  • Make sure you warm up before you do your push ups. If you don’t, then you also have a higher risk of experiencing an injury.


Your regular push up position can quickly become boring and leave you without that challenge you desire. Push ups are great for working on your upper body strength. With the right push up variation, these exercises can give you a great way to target the entire body. There are several push up variation options that you can explore, so start with the ones that we shared in this post.