11 Push-Up Variations For Calisthenics

11 Push-Ups Variations For Calisthenics

The regular pushup is one of the most iconic exercises of them all. I think everybody knows what a pushup is. Similar but better, in my opinion, to the bench press, the pushup targets mostly your chest. But not only the muscles in your chest, your triceps, front shoulders, and even your abs are being trained. Another benefit of pushups is that you do not need a gym membership to practice them. You can start at home just like I did. Especially since most gyms are closed because of Corona, it is a smart thing to start by performing some reps of pushups. This way, you can still get ripped for when covid-19 fades away.

However, doing only regular pushups without any variance is not the best way of training. luckily, there are a dozen different kinds of pushups. You can hit other muscles depending on the variation. There are variations to focus more on your triceps or shoulders. For this article, I have chosen the best pushup variations and the ones I have implemented in my workouts.

Regular Push-Up Variations

Like I said before, I think everybody who is related to fitness knows the pushup. Therefore, I won’t explain the pushup itself. But, if you struggle with pushups, I can give you a few ways/exercises to build your way up to the normal pushup.

1. Knee Push-Up

There are two types of “easier” pushups you can do as a beginner. The first variation is the knee pushup. To do this, you get down on your knees. You put your hands on the floor in front of you. Keep your body in a straight line. Lower yourself slowly and push yourself up again, just like in the video.

The knee pushup is easier because there is less weight you need to push up when getting up.

2. Incline Push-Up

The other variation is the Incline pushup. In this variation, you decrease the force of gravity by performing them on a higher plateau, which makes it easier than on the floor. This video demonstrates the motion perfectly.

3. Diamond Push-Ups

The Diamond pushup is also known as the close-grip pushup. This variation is perfect if you want to work those triceps. Because you put your hands close together, it moves the pressure from your chest to your triceps. Most people will find this variation harder than the traditional pushup. To do the Diamond pushup, you put your hands together and make a shape of a diamond. That is why it is called diamond pushups. Complete a few reps and, you will feel your triceps burning.

4. Wide Push-Ups

If you want to sore up your chest, you definitely need to put the wide pushups in your routine. With wide pushups, you put all the pressure on your chest. Other muscles, however, are getting less targeted this way. To perform this pushup, you put your hands wider than usual.

5. Decline Push-Up Variations

When you notice the regular push up is getting too easy. It is time to progress to a more challenging variation. In the decline pushup, you put your feet on an elevated object or surface. It will put more pressure on your muscles and is, therefore, more difficult.

6. Pike Push-Up Variation

One of the best pushup variations to exercise your shoulders must be the pike push-up. This pushup variation is perfect for a beginner who cannot do a handstand pushup yet and still want a proper shoulder bodyweight exercise. To do the pike pushup, you need to shape your body with an angle of 90 degrees. Put your hand in front of you and stand on your feet. Lower yourself slowly and push yourself up. Do this a couple of reps and sets, and you will feel this in your shoulders the next day.

7. Archer Push-Ups

If you want to learn the almighty one-arm pushup, then the archer pushup is a great exercise to build strength. I would rate this exercise as one of the more advanced variations. It is basically an assisted version of the one-arm pushup.
To do the archer pushup, you place your hands wide, just like the wide-pushup. Go down, but only to one side, with your other hand, you assist yourself. This video represents a visual explanation of this exercise.

8. Explosive Push-Ups Variations

Want to improve the explosiveness in your muscles? I suggest you start doing explosive pushups. These are slightly more advanced than regular pushups. It requires you to push a bit harder and faster. Your goal is to get your hands off the ground. If you are comfortable with pushing with enough explosiveness, you can progress to clap pushups. For the clap pushup, you need longer air-time. That is why you need to push even harder, and with more power, than the explosive pushup.

Advanced Push-Up Variations

Most of the exercises I mentioned above were mostly beginner exercises. These next three exercises are much more advanced. Still, I want to state them because I think they are amazing exercises if you can do them.

9. Handstand Push-Up

The first high-level exercise is the (free standing)handstand pushup. In my opinion, the best shoulder exercises out of all bodyweight exercises. It requires a lot of balance and shoulder strength to perform. I recommend you start training for it. Besides the greatness of the exercise itself, it also looks pretty badass. I made a whole article about the handstand. Just take a look if you are interested in learning this marvelous move.

10. One-Arm Push-Up


I think the one-arm pushup speaks for itself. If you ever see somebody repping the one-armed pushup, you know that person is strong. To learn this move, I suggest you master the regular pushup, and I mean at least 30-40 clean reps. You can also, as I said before, build your way up with archer pushups. Eventually, the impossible-seeming one-arm pushup will be possible.

11. Weighted Push-Up Variations


The last pushup variation I love is the weighted pushup. It is just a traditional pushup, but with some extra weight attached to you. Put on a weight vest or a backpack with some weight in it, and do your reps. I promise you, the results will be insane!

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