One common twist to the push-up is rotating your upper body and arms into a T-position at the end of each rep to improve shoulder stability. Gary Calcagno, strength and conditioning coach for the Oklahoma State wrestling team, finds the drill particularly helpful for grapplers. “The Push-Up T recruits all the small muscles in the joint and makes the shoulder complex so much stronger,” Calcagno says. “This is really important for wrestlers, because their shoulders get pushed and pulled on so much.”
To take the intensity up a notch, Calcagno has his wrestlers hold 5-pound dumbbells during the drill. Once strong enough, they increase to holding 7.5- and eventually 10-pound weights. Add the exercise to the end of your workouts twice a week, performing 2 to 3 sets of 10 reps, to get the best shoulder-protecting effects.