What are the Differenet Types of Push Ups?

Sara Schmidt

A push up, or press up, is an upper body strength training exercise that involves raising the body up and down using the arms. A basic exercise used in programs from physical fitness education to military training, the push up can be done in a variety of ways. Some of the different types of push ups include the one-handed push up, the diamond push up, and the basic push up.

Elevating the top of the body when doing push ups makes them easier.
Elevating the top of the body when doing push ups makes them easier.

The basic push up is the most common of all the types of push ups. To complete the movement, lie on the ground, face pointing down. Hands should be flat on the ground, slightly further than shoulder-width apart, and feet should be together, parallel to one another, keeping the legs and back straight. Keeping the toes tucked beneath the feet, straighten the arms while pushing the body off the floor.

A woman does pushups with her feet elevated on a workout ball.
A woman does pushups with her feet elevated on a workout ball.

Keeping the back straight, exhale and straighten the arms. Face should be forward throughout the entire exercise. Pause, then slowly lower the body back to the floor, keeping the arms in the same position. The body should be lowered until the chin and chest touch the floor, or as comfortably as the athlete can manage. The exercise can then be repeated.

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Push ups strengthen the muscles of the arms, shoulders, and buttocks, among others.
Push ups strengthen the muscles of the arms, shoulders, and buttocks, among others.

One-handed push ups are a popular choice among the many types of push ups. They are conducted similarly to the basic push up, only with one hand placed behind the back. Instead of shoulder length position, the hand used for completing the exercise is centered beneath the chest. The same instructions for a basic push up are used; as one handed push ups cause a strain on the elbow, they are not recommended for long-term use.

Fingertip push ups are executed by spreading the fingers of the hands out like claws. Keeping the hands three feet (0.9 meters) apart, the moves required for a basic push up are followed. Some athletes add the challenging element of lifting the fingers off the ground during the exercise for increased difficulty.

Slow push ups can be used for an endurance workout. These involve beginning in basic push up position and raising the chest six inches (152.4 millimeters) off the ground. Hold the body in this position for a count of ten before raising up another two inches (50.8 millimeters). Hold for another count of ten, then continue repeating with the increased height as long as the exercise is tolerable.

With diamond push ups, the thumb and forefinger are placed in the shape of a diamond. The athlete then proceeds to place the hands beneath the center of the chest and continue with the basic push up. Wide push ups can be performed by keeping the hands four feet (1.22 meters) apart.

All of these types of push ups offer a variety of health benefits. Push ups help tone various target areas, including the trunk, bicep, triceps, shoulders, quadriceps, deltoids, lower body, and buttocks. Upper body strength, hip stability, and abdominal fitness can all be achieved through different types of push ups. They build muscle, help stretch the body, and are considered an optimal part of a balanced fitness program. If doing push ups causes pain in the writs that continues even after exercise has stopped, choose a different type of exercise to avoid wrist injury.

Performing push-ups regularly can strengthen and tone the chest, arms and shoulders.
Performing push-ups regularly can strengthen and tone the chest, arms and shoulders.

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