Any kind of pushup is great for your upper body, but these five variations on a standard pushup can really help you get results. A standard pushup, as you may know, involves lowering your body to the ground with the strength of both arms. When done properly, a pushup can help you bulk up your biceps and triceps, but performing the same exercise day in and day out can become incredibly boring and your other upper body muscles don't benefit from the exercise. These variations expand on the basic pushup premise. You'll keep your mind occupied with these variations, and you'll tone tiny torso muscles you didn't even know you had.
As you perform these variations, remember to keep your back perfectly straight. Dipping your tummy into the floor or arching your back into the ceiling is considered cheating. In addition, keep your neck in line with your back. Craning up or sideways can put an immense strain on your neck and cause you post-workout pain. Do as many repetitions as you can stand before you collapse, rest for a few seconds and repeat the set two more times.
This is a familiar variation on a standard pushup, but it's remarkably effective. Place one hand flat on the ground right beneath your shoulder and place the other hand behind your back. Complete a pushup using just one arm. When that arm starts to wobble and bobble with fatigue, switch arms and perform a set with the other arm.
Instead of placing your hands flat on the ground, rest your weight on your forearms. Tuck in your hips and use your tummy muscles to hold your body in place for 5 to 10 seconds. Relax your hips and your abdomen muscles between repetitions, but don't lower yourself to the floor.
Lower yourself to the ground in a standard pushup position. As you prepare to push up, think of moving very quickly with all of your power and rotating to the right to form a T shape with your body. At the end of this pushup, your left hand will be flat on the floor and your right hand will be pointing up to the ceiling. Your right foot will be on top of your left foot and your toes will be pointing forward. You're moving from facing the floor to facing the right side. Rotate back to the ground and repeat to the left.
By incorporating small medicine balls into your pushups, you're increasing the difficulty of the workout and making your tiny torso muscles activate to keep you from hitting the ground. Make sure your medicine balls are inflated, and place one beneath each hand. Perform a standard pushup, keeping those hands in the proper position throughout the movement.
Begin in a standard pushup position. As you lower yourself to the ground, squeeze your tummy muscles and bring your left leg up to touch your left elbow. Extend your leg as you raise yourself to the starting position, and repeat by moving your right leg on with the next pushup.