3 Challenging Muscle-Building Push-Ups | STACK

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

3 Challenging Muscle-Building Push-Ups

April 24, 2013 | Jim Carpentier

Must See Strength Training Videos

Incorrect push-up form minimizes upper-body growth. Although pounding out 50-plus at max speed may feel impressive, the results will not be.

Basic Push-Ups strengthen the entire body, but a slight form error and can seriously strain the lower back.

General Technique Errors

  • Sagging Lower Back. A drooping lower back not only transfers tension away from the targeted chest and shoulder muscles, it can also contribute to lower back strain or soreness.
  • Performing Partial Reps.
  • Incorrect Hand Position. Intense or advanced versions can involve partial reps or hands placed farther away from the chest (See 10 Powerful Push-Up Variations.)

Perfect Push-Up Technique

  • Hands approximately shoulder-width apart at chest level
  • Back straight
  • Slowly lower in two seconds until the chest is one inch from the floor
  • Pause one second
  • Press up in one second

Push Up Benefits

Push-Ups are a great weight-bearing bodyweight exercise for both the season and the off-season. Bonus: since they don't require equipment (except for more difficult variations) they are convenient and require minimal space.

3 Intense Push-Ups

Set a new standard by further challenging your muscles with these three intense push-up variations. Try one per workout.

Elevated Super-Slow Push-Ups

Sets/Reps: 3x5

  • Place feet atop a chair or bench and hands shoulder-width apart
  • Lower in 10 seconds
  • Press up in four seconds
  • Rest 60 seconds between sets

Explosive Push-Ups

Sets/Reps: 3x10

  • Assume standard push-up position
  • Slowly lower and quickly press up with hands leaving the ground between reps
  • Rest 60 seconds between sets.
(See it in motion: Power Up Your Push-Ups)

Fast Med Ball Partial Rep Push-Ups

Sets/Reps: 3x15

  • Assume push-up position with hands on a medicine ball and arms slightly bent
  • Rapidly perform partial range reps up and down
  • Rest 30 seconds between sets
Jim Carpentier
- Jim Carpentier is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, New Jersey-licensed massage therapist and a health/fitness writer. He currently serves as associate health and wellness...
Jim Carpentier
- Jim Carpentier is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, New Jersey-licensed massage therapist and a health/fitness writer. He currently serves as associate health and wellness...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Don't Train Your Arms Until You Can Do These 4 Things

7-Exercise Core-Blasting Workout

3 Post-Activation Potentiation Combos for Explosive Strength

Make Lifts More Challenging With Resistance Bands

Break Through Plateaus With the 1-10 Drop Set Method

These 3 Single-Leg Movements Will Improve Your Squat Technique

The Simplest Bodyweight Workout Ever

Dominate Your Bench Test With This Strategy

Never Bench Press With Your Feet in This Position

Blast Through Plateaus with Tempo Sets

Get a Ripped Core With 6 Advanced Dead Bug Variations

A Better Way to Train Your Core

7 Exercises That Safely Build Shoulder Strength

Basketball In-Season Battle Rope Complexes, Part 1

5 Softball Catcher Drills for Throwing Power

Improve Your Strength for Track & Field Success

The Science of Building Muscle: 2 Ways to Maximize Hypertrophy

Improve Your Back Strength with the Inverted Row

4 Deadlift Variations to Increase Your Pull

4 Weaknesses That Can Ruin Your Exercise Technique (With Fixes)

Get Faster by Improving Your Core Mobility

Notice On-Court Results With This Basketball Core Workout

4 Exercises to Build True Lacrosse Power

4 Ways to Get a Jacked Back

7 Best Lower-Body Strengthening Exercises

3 Explosive Exercises Designed to Increase Pitching Power

4 Sure-Fire Ways to Build a Strong Core

The Best Single-Leg Exercises for Youth Athletes

Game Changer: Should You Be Using Machines or Free Weights?

Female Athletes: Get Strong, Not Bulky, With These Workouts

10 Ways to Get Stronger With a Sandbag

Bench Press Grip Guide: How Hand Placement Changes the Exercise

Kyle Lowry's 12-Week All-Star Training Program

4 Lifts to Build Wrestling Strength

Top 5 Baseball Strength Training Myths

3 Nordic Hamstring Curl Exercises to Boost Your Performance

Master the Lateral Lunge to Improve Your Hockey Stride

Build Full-Body Strength With 5 Suspension Trainer Exercises

5 Isolation Exercises Your Workout Is Missing

3 Sandbag Training Mistakes Athletes Make

7 Strategies for Faster Workout Recovery

Build Powerful Pecs With This Multi-Angle Chest Workout

7 Strategies for Dealing With a Meathead in Your Gym

7 Ways to Work Out Competitively Without CrossFit