Push-up variation workout

Try the easy or basic push-up first, then upgrade to the variations.
Published 8 December 2015

Push-up variation workout


The plan
Add push-ups to your regular workout routine to strengthen your core, chest, arms and shoulders. Do as many push-ups as you can for up to 1 minute, and aim to do three sets.

Before you start
Push-ups are one of the best ‘free’ exercises – they can be done just about anywhere, and no equipment is required. A yoga mat can help with grip and cushioning, and you’ll need an exercise ball for one of the variations.

Do it right
Keep your back straight – it shouldn’t dip! Imagine a straight line running from your neck down, and keep your shoulders back and away from your ears.


1. Box push-ups

Do it easy: Start by getting into position on all fours on the yoga mat. Place your hands on either side of the mat, slightly wider than shoulder width. Keep your neck and back straight, chin tucked in and core engaged, and slowly bend your elbows so your chest lowers towards the floor. Pause for a couple of seconds, then slowly come back to the start position, straightening your elbows without locking them.

Box push-ups

2. Push-up on knees

A basic version: Get into a plank position, with your hands under and slightly wider than your shoulders, knees bent at a 90-degree angle, and your feet together. Keep your back flat, chin tucked in and core engaged, and lower down until your chest almost touches the mat. Pause for a second or two, then push back up to the start position.

Push-up on knees

3. Push-up on toes

Do it harder: Start on all fours, then step your feet to the bottom of the mat so you're in a plank position. Keep a straight line from your head to your heels and lower your body to the floor, stopping just before your chest touches the mat.Hold, then return to start. To work your triceps harder, keep your elbows in close to your body. To make the move more intense for the chest area, allow your elbows to fall perpendicular to your body as you lower down.

Push-up on toes

4. Push-up on an exercise ball

With a twist: Get into a plank position and place your feet on an exercise ball, gripping with your toes to keep the ball in place. Place your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width to help maintain balance. Fix your gaze on the ground in front of you and lower your body down as far as you can without your head touching the floor. Keep your hips high as you lower down to the ground. Hold, then slowly push back up through your arms to the start position.

Push-up on exercise ball