Ditch the dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, and
pec dec, because this workout isn’t going to use any of that.
In fact, you won’t need any equipment at all,
just your body, Mother Earth, and maybe a box (or sofa) to elevate your feet
Get ready to put your mental and physical
strength to the test as we present the ultimate push up workout challenge.
- This workout consists of 15 different push up variations.
- Every exercise is performed for one set where you will perform as many quality reps as possible (AMRAP). The set is over when your form starts to break down (hips sagging, leading with your head, etc.) or you feel that you might fail on the next rep.
- Rest between each set is limited to 60-90 seconds.
- Lifters with great endurance, strength, and intra-set recovery should aim to complete 20 reps across all sets.
- If this is your first time trying a high volume push up workout to train your upper body, know this — you will be sore for days after this workout!
Let’s get to it!
Ultimate Push Up Challenge
|Plyo Push Up||1||AMRAP|
|Feet Elevated Pike Push Up||1||AMRAP|
|Feet Elevated on Stability Ball Push Up w/ Crunch||1||AMRAP|
|Feet Elevated on Bench Push Up||1||AMRAP|
|Dive Bomber Push Up||1||AMRAP|
|Spider-Man Push Up||1||AMRAP|
|Archer Push Up||1||AMRAP|
|Side-to-Side Push Up||1||AMRAP|
|Staggered Hands Push Up||1||AMRAP|
|Shoulder Tap Push Up||1||AMRAP|
|Military Push Up||1||AMRAP|
|Diamond Push Up||1||AMRAP|
|Standard Push Up||1||AMRAP|
|Hands Elevated Push Up||1||AMRAP|
Push Up Variation Notes
Plyometric Push Ups
Plyometric push ups are a great exercise to develop upper body explosiveness and power. They’re also great for firing up the CNS, which will help optimize strength and power output in the forthcoming push up variations.
Begin in a normal push up position, and lower
your torso to the ground. When you reach the bottom immediately explode up back
to the top. Do not pause at the bottom.
Make sure to properly reset before your next rep of the plyo push up. This ensures proper technique and maximum power output during each repetition. Your set is over when rep quality or push up force significantly drops.
Feet Elevated Stability Push Ups
This is a spin on the typical feet elevated on a
plyo box or bench set up.
The addition of a stability ball requires greater
stabilization as your glutes and core have to work overtime to keep you from
wobbling all over the place. For an added challenge on your chest, shoulders,
triceps, and abs, perform a knee tuck in between each rep of push up by pulling
your knees into your chest and fully contracting your abs.
Feet Elevated on Bench (or Box)
The feet elevated on bench push up is a great
bodyweight alternative to the incline dumbbell press, making it a great option
for building the upper pecs.
The higher the box, the harder the exercise will
be, but don’t make the box too high or else you’ll make the movement more
shoulder-focused than upper pec-focused.
Dive Bomber Push Up
This variation is a really a total body builder
as it hits the chest, shoulders, back, triceps and glutes. Even the low back
and hamstrings get a decent stretch during the exercise, too.
To perform the dive bomber push up, set up in a plank position with your hands and feet on the floor just outside of shoulder-width. From there, stick your butt in the air, making a V-shape, as if you were to do a pike push up.
Lower your head and shoulders to the floor, and
prior to your head contacting the ground, “swoop” your body forward as if you
are crawling under some barbed wire and push up so that your chest and head end
up facing forward with your arms straight.
Hold this position for a count of one and then
reverse the movement to go back to the top.
Spider-Man Push Up
The spider-man develops strength, stability, balance, and mobility (particularly in the hips) all in one. Due to the offset loading, your core, chest, shoulders, and triceps will have to work overtime to resist falling over and the added resistance due to the change in loading.
To perform the Spider-Man Push Up:
Set up in a normal push up position. As you lower your body toward the ground, lift your left foot to the side and up, trying to touch your knee to your elbow. Pause at the bottom position for one second before pressing up to the top and repeating with the right leg on the next rep.
Continue alternating back and forth between your
left and right side until you can no longer perform a rep with perfect form.
Archer Push Up
Have you ever wished you had the strength and
balance to pull off a one-arm push up, but never knew how to work up to it?
That’s where the archer push up comes in.
In an archer push up, one hand is placed directly
underneath your shoulder (or just outside of it), and the other hand is
extended out away from the torso.
The further you move your hand away from center, the harder the exercise becomes.
Your goal is for the hand under your shoulder to
perform as much of the work as possible, the “support” hand should assist as
little as allows you to push up from the ground.
For this exercise, you can alternate back and forth between sides, or you can perform a certain number of reps on one side (4, for example) and then perform an equal number on the other side and continue this back and forth until you can no longer complete another rep.
Side-to-Side Push Up
For the side-to-side push up, you’ll be moving
laterally from one side to the other with every rep.
Assume a regular push up position with your hands in a diamond shape directly beneath your chest and your feet together. Perform a push up, then extend your left arm and leg to the side so that they are just outside of shoulder width. Perform another push up. Now, bring your right hand and foot so that the hands and feet are touching. Perform another push up. Now, move your right hand and foot out to the right so that they are just beyond shoulder width and perform a push up. Continue moving laterally from side to side until you burn out.
Staggered Push Up
The staggered push up is great for working on any
asymmetries or imbalances that may have developed over your years of bench
From a standard push-up position, move one hand
forward (above shoulder level) and the other backward (close to the side of the
body) so they’re offset by about 12 inches.
Bend your elbows to lower your chest to the
ground, and then contract the pecs to extend your elbows and push back to the
starting position. Perform 5 reps per side before switching hand positions and
repeating. Continue in this back and forth fashion until you can no longer
complete a clean rep.
The T-push up builds rotational strength and
stability. It also requires a good deal of coordination and balance.
Begin in a normal push up position (hands
shoulder-width, feet together). Lower your torso to the ground and press up. As
you approach the top, rotate the right side of your body up towards the sky and
raise your right arm towards the ceiling.
Return to the starting position and when your
press up next time, rotate your left arm to the ceiling.
Repeat for as many reps as possible.
Diamond Push Up
Assume a high plank position, but instead of having your hands directly under your shoulders, bring them towards the centerline with your thumb and index fingers forming a diamond or triangle shape.
As you lower and try to touch your chest to your hands, make sure the elbows stay tucked into the sides of your body. This places less strain on the shoulders and keeps the focus on your chest and triceps.
Hands Elevated Push Up
By the end of the workout, your pushing muscles
are all but useless. To make sure they’ve given every last bit of effort they
have to give, we’re helping you out by giving you the easiest push up variation
yet — the hands elevated push up.
By elevating your hands on the bench (or box) and
keeping your feet on the ground, you’ve changed the leverage of the exercise to
be in your favor as you’ll have less weight to push up.
Give this set everything you’ve got — it’s your last one!