When you drop down to pushup, are you really thinking about what you’re doing? You’ve probably been pumping through the bodyweight staple since elementary school, so it’s easy to think you know just about everything about the exercise. It is pretty simple, after all—what you’re doing is literally in the name.
But there’s more nuance to the move than just hitting the ground and pushing off. Your body position is essential to get the most out of the pushup (learn more about that here). Your ultimate aim when doing the exercise is just as important, according to trainer Charlee Atkins, C.S.C.S.
“Let’s talk about the goal of a pushup,” she says. “The perfect pushup isn’t doing the most reps. A perfect pushup is lowering all the way down and then extending all the way back up to the starting position.”
Atkins notices that a certain type of person she works with commonly skips out on that form and care for speed and brute strength. Dudes, she’s talking about us.
“Most of my male clients forget the extension at the top and are instead worried about how many they can do,” Atkins says. The trainer suggests that guys who are trying to get more out of their pushups should instead try to vary the intensity of your workouts by adding elements of instability and movement. This four-move series gives you an opportunity to do just that, with three challenging pushup variations and one regression.
Perform each variation for 10 reps
- Hands Elevated Pushup
- Iso Pushup Hold
- Lateral Walk and Pushup
- Pushup and Shoulder Tap
You can insert these variations into your workouts in place of standard pushups, or you can take them on as a series, performing 3 to 4 rounds through the whole set.
Want to learn more moves from Atkins? Check out our series full of her workout tips, Try Her Move.