Press ups, also known as push ups, are one of the best exercises you can do on your own and in your home. Requiring no additional exercise equipment, the push up can be adapted in various ways to increase the level of difficulty while also ensuring you never have a boring workout. Even better, the muscle confusion that results when you vary your workout can actually increase your strength and power. Exercise gurus have come up with over 50 variations on the original push up, however this article will only list a few of the best. Challenge yourself to try 10 reps of each for a total of 50 reps in under five minutes.
Begin with your hands slightly shoulder-width apart. Depending on your ability level, you can either begin with your knees on the ground or go for the full position with legs out in what is essentially a raised plank pose. Keep your core in line with your head and ankles so that it forms a straight line and your behind doesn't stick out. Keeping your elbows pulled in, lower your chest so that it ends up about an inch off the floor. Without pausing straighten your arms and resume your original position. That's one repetition.
Start with your standard pushup position. Lower yourself to the floor and hold this pose while you kick out at a ninety degree angle with your right leg. Try not to bend your knee. Once your leg has returned to the normal stance, raise yourself up to complete the rep. Vary which leg you kick out each push up.
Start with the standard position but instead of hands flat on the ground, form fists with them with knuckles on the floor. Before lowering your chest to the floor, bring your right knee to the opposite (left) elbow and hold this for a second. Then resume your starting position before completing the push up. Repeat, following with the left leg to your right elbow. A great push up to work your hip flexors and abdominal muscles.
This pushup forces your muscles to work harder by increasing the distribution of weight unevenly while forcing different muscle groups to compensate for balance. Begin with the standard position with your hands forming fists on the floor. Lower your chest to the left and down instead of directly to the floor below, and hold for a second. Resume the starting position and repeat, this time lowering your chest to the right. Alternate sides.
Developed in Japan, this pushup combines uneven distribution of weight, putting the focus on the shoulders and hamstrings while increasing the activation of your core muscles. Starting in the standard position, raise your right leg up parallel with the floor. Now lower your body as normal to an inch above the ground. Holding this position, raise your lifted leg even higher in the air before pushing back to the starting position. Keep this position for half your reps then switch legs to complete the set.