The Power Push-Up Is Your Key to an Explosive Upper Body

Challenge your upper body with this Push-Up variation, which focuses on increasing your muscles' time under tension.

Push-Ups are a necessity for every athlete, but not all Push-Ups are created equal. The Mountain Climber Power Push-Up provides an exceptional challenge for your lower and upper body, recruiting your core and lengthening the time it takes to complete a full set.

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This exercise's time-under-tension engages your upper body muscles throughout, in both movement and stabilization. Moreover, the Mountain Climber can be considered "horizontal running"; the power comes from the speed you use in hopping through each repetition.


The Mountain Climber Push-Up produces lean muscle in your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps and calves. Other primary movers include your anterior and medial deltoid muscles, pectoralis major and minor muscles and triceps. Your back muscles, including the rhomboids and middle trapezius, provide constant stabilization. The hopping movement allows for an incredible stretch to every muscle below your pelvis.

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How to:

  • Position your hands a little wider than shoulder-width apart with your chest facing the floor.
  • Keep your knees, legs and feet together with your ankle complex positioned slightly forward, for more of a challenge to your core.
  • Lower yourself to the floor, keeping a neutral spine. Your elbows should create a 90-degree angle at the bottom of the Push-Up.
  • As you rise back up to the starting position, keep your elbows slightly bent while you bend one knee, bringing it to your chest with a "hop" to your step.
  • Keep your other foot stationary on the floor with your heel up.
  • Repeat the same action with your other leg, creating another "hop" to your step as you bring your knee to your chest.

Sets/Reps: Beginners, 3x10 with two minutes rest between sets; intermediate, 4x12, with 90 seconds rest between sets; and more advanced athletes, 4x16, with 90 seconds rest between sets.

Coaching Points

  • Remember to keep your elbows bent to maintain tension on your core and upper-body muscles.
  • Be especially quick when performing the Mountain Climber portion of the Push-Up to obtain the most power possible.
  • For optimal range of motion, make sure your knee always touches the bottom of your chest with each repetition.
  • Maintain a neutral spine.
  • Avoid letting your lower back curve inward, which results in the hips dropping excessively.
  • Do not round your back; that raises your gluteal muscles higher than your hips and contributes to scapulae protraction.
The Power Push-Up
The Power Push-Up 2

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