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Power Up Your Push-Ups

October 1, 2011 | Featured in the Fall, 2011 Issue

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Push-Ups are a classic strength-building exercise. Below are three variations that can make them even more effective.

1. Push-Up Ladder

This is not only a chest and triceps killer, it also makes your shoulders and core stronger. It can be used as a bodyweight exercise for younger athletes or loaded with a 100-pound weight vest for an NFL linebacker.

How To Perform:

  • Start on right side of ladder with left hand inside first rung and right hand outside ladder
  • Perform Push-Up
  • Place right hand in same rung as left hand, and move left hand to next rung
  • Perform Push-Up
  • Continue pattern to end of ladder
  • Rest, then perform pattern leading with opposite hand

Sets/Reps: 2-4 x Ladder cycle

2. Slideboard Push-Up

This is an advanced exercise. It develops chest strength while activating back muscles, specifically the lats. It also requires tremendous core strength to stabilize the body in a plank position.

How To Perform:

  • Assume Push-Up position with right hand on slideboard or with towel on lowfriction surface
  • Descend into bottom Push-Up position while extending right hand forward on slideboard
  • Push up with left hand and pull with right hand to return to starting position
  • Repeat for specified reps; perform set on opposite side

Sets/Reps: 2x10-12 each side

3. Chain Push-Up

This variation strengthens your muscles by forcing them to push against the resistance of the chains. To make it more challenging, perform the Push-Ups using 20-pound dumbbells as grips to force the body to maintain balance and stability.

How To Perform:

  • Assume kneeling position; spotter loads chains on back in criss-cross pattern
  • Perform Push-Ups until fatigued; yell "pull" for spotter to remove one chain
  • Continue performing Push-Ups until fatigued; yell "pull" for spotter to remove next chain
  • Repeat pattern until all chains are removed

Sets/Reps: 3x4-6 chains

Related Exercises

Chain Push-Up
Push-Up Ladder
Slideboard Push-Up
Topics: PUSH-UP
Jason Spray
- A strength and conditioning coach at the collegiate level since 2002, Jason Spray is a head strength coach at Middle Tennessee State University, where he...
Jason Spray
- A strength and conditioning coach at the collegiate level since 2002, Jason Spray is a head strength coach at Middle Tennessee State University, where he...
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