Push-ups are an effective way of building strength in your core, chest and shoulder muscles.
There’s something gritty and raw about them that’s attractive to most of us in the fitness world.
They’re good to mix with weight training or to incorporate into a bodyweight circuit or routine, but after a while, you need to progress the movement to keep improving.
So here are nine ways you can make your push-ups harder.
Boosting time under tension is a key way of increasing strength because it effectively increases your overall training volume. Isometric push-ups are great for this. Just hold the bottom of the movement for 3-4 seconds and explode up.
Moyotatic push-ups will wreak havoc with your rhythm at first and really fatigue your muscles. They involve a quarter-rep immediately followed by a full rep. This again increases time under tension.
Add Resistance Bands
Increasing resistance is always a good way to progress an exercise, and you can do this with resistance band push-ups. You simply hold the band in each hand and bring it up over your head to rest on your back.
Chains are a good way of adding weight to your push-ups if bodyweight isn’t enough. It helps to have a partner to make sure the chains are blamed on your back and to lift them off safely at the end of the set.
If you don’t have access to a chain, you can just use weight plates. Balancing a plate on your back adds an extra challenge, putting more stress on your core.
If you want to work your core more, lift one leg off the ground. You’ll feel more of a burn in your abs. Do your best to keep your torso level and your leg stretched straight behind you.
In a negative push-up, you draw out the lowering phase of the movement to last 3-4 seconds before exploding back up with power. This puts more emphasis on the eccentric contraction. It’s a great one if you want more strength gains from your push-ups.
Changing your grip is a simple way to make push-ups harder. Bring your hands together to form a diamond with your thumbs and index fingers. It’s great if you want to work on your triceps.
Raising both feet off the ground by placing them on a bench or some stacked plates introduces a different challenge. You’ll build strength in different areas of your core and chest so you can continue to improve your all-round physique and fitness.