In the previous installment of Everything about pushups, we spoke about the benefits of the push up, what constitutes good technique and regressions that can be used if you cannot perform push ups perfectly at the moment. In this installment we will cover some of the more difficult variations of push ups. Do not attempt these until you can perform atleast 30 push ups in picture perfect technique.


  1. Close Push Ups
    Close push ups are to be performed exactly like standard push ups, except your index fingers and your thumbs will be touching. This variation is critical and is the foundation for real pushing power. Focus on perfect technique and really juice this variation- get everything out of it. By the time you master it, you should be having a beautiful set of triceps.
    Master for a set of 25.

  2. Easy Maltese Push Ups
    Easy Maltese push ups will fire your deltoids and get that round shape at the top of your pecs. Take a hand spacing of about 1.5 times shoulder width and the hands should be in line with your upper abdomen. The fingers should be pointing straight ahead, just like a normal push up. Maintaining the hands in line with your upper abdomen will take a lot of control and power.
    Master for a set of 20 reps.
  3. Ball Push Ups
    Assume the standard push up position. Now place one hand on a basketball. Now perform push ups, until your chest touches the ball. This variation works one arm (the hand on the ball) harder than the the other. The Range of motion will be restricted though, and the arm will be working in the bottom half of the ROM of an ordinary push ups. The beauty of the movement is that the other arm works equally hard in the top half of the ROM. Their combined effort amounts to more than the weight actually being moved. The key thing is to keep the shoulders parallel to the ground at all times. Great for the shoulders.
    Master for a set of 20 on each arm.

  4. Close ball pushups
    These are the same as close push ups, except both your hands are on a basketball sized ball. Keep the ball below the breast bone.
    Master for a set of 20 on each arm.

  5. Hard Maltese pushups
    This is the same as easy maltese pushups, except the hand are a little wider and lower and the fingers are POINTING DOWNWARDS. This is much harder than the easy maltese variation.
    Master for a set of 20.

  6. One arm emphasis push up
    Take a normal push ups posture, but more one arm should be slightly closer to the body, the other slightly more away. Perform like a normal push up, keep the shoulders parallel to the ground. The closer arm should be doing a lot more work.
    Master for a set of 17-18 on each arm.


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