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4 Push-up Variations To Blast Through Your Strength Plateaus

4 Push-up Variations To Blast Through Your Strength Plateaus

  1. Are you having trouble making gains in your strength training? 
  2. How often are you incorporating push-ups into your strength routine? 
  3. What type of push-up variations do you include in your current strength training program? 
  4. How often do you vary your push-ups to challenge yourself and to maximize your strength gains? 
  5. Are you noticing daily gains in your upper body strength from your push-ups? 

When it comes to developing real world strength in the most functional and practical way possible I don’t think anyone would argue about the massive benefits of the almighty push-up. The push-up are an incredibly powerful strength drill because push-ups can be done anywhere and at anytime. In addition to this push-ups can be easily altered by playing with your weight distribution in order to produce some serious strength by challenging your body in very different ways.

Push-up Variations 

When it comes to getting the most out of your functional strength and conditioning you’ve got to include push-ups into your strength program…period. There is no substitute for push-ups when it comes to practical, effective, and convenient strength development. You don’t need equipment, you only need very little space, and you only need very little time to leverage the power of push-ups.

When it comes to advancing your strength push-ups are also going to be a great supplement to your weight training in terms of reinforcing your core strength development, shoulder stability, and developing the ability to create overall tension and rigidity throughout your body eliminating weak links throughout your muscular chain.

With that being said you can also leverage push-ups even further to dominate your strength gains and blast through your plateaus by playing with your weight distribution. Here are some killer push-up variations to help you punch through your sticking points.

1) Walkout Push-ups: This variation is a great deal more challenging than it appears. By performing the walkout portion of the movement on your hands you will find that the additional movement will stress your body and activate the muscles in your arms and shoulders in a challenging way.

These are also great for the mobility in your ankles, knees, and hips with the addition of the squat and the walking back portion of the movement. Who would’ve thought that there was a push-up that could mobilize your ankles, knees, and hips?

2) Plank To Push-up: This variation is quite a beast. By starting out in a plank position it makes the execution of this drill a great deal more challenging because of the lack of leverage and momentum to spring up into the upright push-up position from the plank position.

To perform this one you want to rock your body forward bringing your chest out over your forearms and then creating momentum spring up onto your fists into the upright push-up position. From here perform a standard push-up on your knuckles.

3) Push-up Dumbbell Drag: This variation does involve one small piece of equipment with the use of a single dumbbell or kettlebell. It won’t require much weight as the dumbbell will add a significantly greater challenge to the movement.

This push-up is executed by you performing a standard push-up and dragging the dumbbell from one side of your body across to the other side before performing a subsequent push-up. The dumbbell should be moved like with the arm that is closest to it and across the centerline of your body like a chest fly.

Perform 3 sets of 4 to 8 reps with a repetition being counted with a drag to each side of your body.

4) Glide Disc Push-up: This variation involves the addition of some glide disc, or furniture disc movers that you can pick up at your local Home Depot store.

With the glide disc you’re able to execute two movements within one push-up! I know that sounds crazy, but check this out. To perform this push-up variation you want to have one hand on the floor and the other on the glide disc. As you descend into the base of the push-up you can slide the disc hand up above your head for shoulder flexion, or out to the side of you with shoulder abduction.

As you ascend back up to the push-up you also are performing a push movement with the grounded hand and more of a pulling type movement with the hand on the disc as you bring your body back into the upright push-up position. Perform 3 sets of 4 to 8 reps with the disc on each hand during your push-up training.

Push-up Variations: The Takeaway

At the end of the day push-ups make your strength training better. The beauty is that if you become proficient with the standard push-up exercise then you can give your push-up game a serious upgrade with the variations that I’ve demonstrated for you here.

Are you currently using any of these variations in your own strength training program? 

Which push-up variations are you currently using? 

Post up and share in the comment section here below. 



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I'm a Certified Strength And Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and author. I have had over 17 years experience in MMA fitness, strength and conditoning, and athletic performance for most every sport. As an author and specialist I've written close to a million words on fitness and strength. I'm also a Muay Thai practictioner and enjoy helping others to reach their peak potential through fitness and performance.

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