3 Types of Push-Ups to Quickly Blast Your Upper Body | STACK

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

3 Types of Push-Ups to Quickly Blast Your Upper Body

June 23, 2011

Must See Strength Training Videos

Any athlete striving for a higher level of fitness must develop a powerful upper body. But time isn’t always on your side. Between practice, school and family, your busy life leaves little time to work out. If it's the end of a day when  you haven't exercised, try these three types of Push-Ups for a quick workout. They require nothing but your bodyweight and a flat surface.

Types of Push-Ups

Standard Push-Up

The Standard Push-Up works the chest, triceps and anterior deltoids, making it one of the most effective exercises for developing a strong, powerful upper body. It's a staple of all military workouts, and it should be in yours. To begin, lie on your stomach and place your hands by your armpits, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.  Straighten your legs, so that your body forms a straight line from your neck to your ankles. Push through your hands to extend your arms. Engage your core and keep your body straight. Lower until your chest touches the ground. Perform 10-20 reps, depending on your level of strength. If you cannot do at least 10 reps, shorten your range of motion. To add difficulty, increase or decrease speed.

Military Push-Up

Use the same setup, but keep your hands directly beneath your shoulders. Resist the urge to let your elbows stick out, like in the Standard Push-Up. Keep them tight to your body. Don't let your hips sag or float up. This exercise works more of your triceps while still hitting your chest and anterior deltoids. Perform 8-15 reps and increase or decrease speed for a different challenge.

Wide Push-Up

This Push-Up places more emphasis on your chest. Move your hands 6 to 12 inches away from your shoulders. Engage your core and push yourself off the ground. Perform 8-15 reps. Once again, use speed to add challenge. If you experience pain in your sternum [center of your chest] or elsewhere, shorten your range of motion and move your hands closer together.

Mix these different Push-Ups into your workout, playing with the variables for a total of four to six sets. For example, do two sets of Standard Push-Ups—one at a medium tempo, the other more quickly—then move on to the other two types. Stay aware of how your body feels, so you don’t strain your muscles. You are now working to build a powerful upper body!

Photo:  usarpac.army.mil

Joe Baur
- Joe Baur is a certified personal trainer with a bachelor's degree in mass communication from Miami University [Oxford, OH]. He became certified with the National...
Joe Baur
- Joe Baur is a certified personal trainer with a bachelor's degree in mass communication from Miami University [Oxford, OH]. He became certified with the National...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

3 Ways to Develop Fast-Twitch Muscles

So you want to be as strong as the Hulk, as fast as Flash, and as awesome as Superman. The secret to unlocking your superhuman potential may just lie...

Master the Turkish Get-Up in 6 Simple Steps

Exercise of the Week: World's Greatest Stretch

6 Weight Room Exercises for Lacrosse

Why Single-Leg Training Should Be in Your Program

STACK Top 10 for 2012: Exercise of the Week

Exercise of the Week: Med Ball Clean and Press

Exercise of the Week: Army Push-Up

13 Fitness Challenges That Will Destroy You

Going the Extra Mile With a Plate Workout

Exercise of the Week: Dumbbell Arm Swings

Get Stronger with Eccentric Training

The Oldest (and Best) Way to Build Bigger Biceps

Why Do So Many Exercises Have Foreign Names

2 Glute Exercises to Increase Your Running Speed

Troubleshooting Tips for Popular Gym Exercises

Exercise of the Week: Hanging Leg Raise

Exercise of the Week: Reverse Sled Pull

3 Exercises Every Athlete Should Do

Exercise of the Week: Trap Bar Deadlift

You're Doing It Wrong: Exercise Tempo

Alternative Uses for a Trap Bar

9 Ways Athletes Screw Up Common Exercises

5 Common Rowing Machine Mistakes Beginners Make

Hip Flexor Stretches for Better Performance

3 Brutal Conditioning Ropes Exercises

Basic Core Exercises for Beginners

3 Ways You're Messing Up Your Romanian Deadlifts

Why You Should Add Pull-Throughs to Your Workouts

Exercise of the Week: Dumbbell Push Press

Exercise of the Week: Band Diamond Push-Up

Exercise of the Week: Top Half-Squat

5 More Exercises Only Elite Athletes Can Conquer

The Do's and Don'ts of the Deadlift and Back Squat

6 Popular Exercises That Are a Waste of Time