11 Essential Pushup Variations for Beginners

The pushup is one of the most basic but effective moves for strength and conditioning.

This humble muscle-building exercise trains the muscles in your chest, shoulders, triceps, and abs. Add the slightest tweak and that burn can quickly shift from a killer chest pump to a brutal ab ripper. While there are countless variations—some of which require near-superhuman strength—these modifications are suitable for both beginner and intermediate athletes.

Men’s Fitness Mike Simone demonstrates each variation in the video above.

1. Traditional pushup

The basic starting point.

2. Wide-grip pushup

Engages the shoulders more.

3. Close-grip pushup

Engages the triceps more.

4. Clap pushup

Improves power and explosiveness.

5. One-leg pushup

Engages the core more.

6. Dead-stop pushup

Also known as a “hand-release pushup,” this can help ease tension on the joints.

7. Eccentric pushup

Emphasizes the muscle-lengthening phase of the pushup, enabling you to change the stimulus on your muscles.

8. Spider-Man pushup

Engages the core more and improves hip mobility.

9. One-armed incline pushup

Forces the chest to work in an unbalanced state.

10. Decline pushup

Works more of the upper chest and shoulders.

11. Incline pushup

Works more of the lower chest and triceps.

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