As a total-body exercise, the Push-Up is the complete package. Executed properly, this compound movement effectively works the entire upper body, abdominal section and even the legs. However, there is more to the Push-Up than the basic movement.
Push-Up variations are too often overlooked for developing strength and power. The professional Arena football player featured in the above video is capable of bench pressing over 375 pounds; but manipulating the intensity or volume of Push-Ups challenges even an athlete at his level. (See the STACK Push-Up Guide for additional techniques.)
Here's a rundown of some great ways to vary your Push-Ups to build a stronger total body for your specific sport.
This variation is great for developing upper body power, particularly useful in football, where players often forcefully extend their arms to create distance between themselves and opponents, or to throw off their timing.
This is ideal for baseball players, because the uneven contact points and instability of the medicine ball shift the center of gravity during the movement, thereby increasing core stabilization. The back is not braced against any surface, and the scapulae are free to move, like they do when you throw a baseball. (Check out more Med Ball Variations.)
This adaptation is good for basketball players, because it strengthens both the anterior and posterior upper body musculature. The pushing and pulling motions work each muscle group in an antagonistic/agonistic fashion. This variation also requires a good amount of core strength to execute properly.