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Push Up Workout | 7 Push-Up Exercise Variations For Chest Growth

It’s hard not to think of push-ups when we think of training with your own body weight. And for good reason. The push-up is one of the most effective bodyweight exercises. It not only works your chest, but also your triceps and your deltoids. Plus, it strengthens your entire core. And to a certain extent, it even works your glutes, quads and small stabilizing muscles in your upper back.

Exercise #1: Regular Push Ups

We all know what these are! You should perform regular push ups as a warm up to the full workout. Begin by getting into a prone position, with your arms planted on the floor shoulder width apart. Slowly lower yourself towards to ground, pause, and push back up.

Since these will be mainly a warm up exercise, you should keep the reps high, though try not to tire out your chest immediately.

Recommended reps: 12-20 reps for 3-4 sets

Exercise #2: Wide Grip Push Ups

Similar to regular push ups, but you will be placing your hands wider apart than shoulder width. Doing so eliminates a lot of your tricep and shoulder involvement from the exercise, focussing more on working your chest.

Tip: If you find these are too easy and really want to give yourself a challenge, you can try crucifix push ups. Here you place your arms about as wide as they will go, with a slight bend to allow the pushing movement. They will take practice to perform and are very difficult to do, so don’t give up if you struggle at first!

Recommended reps: 8-12 reps for 3-4 sets

Exercise #3: Clapping Push Ups

These will really work your explosive strength and muscle endurance. You begin with the same starting position as a regular push up, and the same initial movement. When you start to push up, you should do so explosively, such that your torso lifts up more than normal. In doing so, you should quickly clap your hands together underneath your chest and then replace them back down in the regular position, continuing the movement and repeating.

Try to keep the movement controlled when you are performing clapping push ups; it can be very easy to let your form slide.

Recommended reps: 8-12 for 3-4 sets

Exercise #4: Narrow Grip Push Ups

Again, these are very similar to regular push ups. However, this time you will place your hands closer together, just a few inches apart. In doing so you are putting more emphasis on your triceps. Remember, try to keep your elbows at your sides as you perform these, and refrain from letting them flare out in order to prevent injury.

Tip: If you want to make this exercise one bit tougher, then you can perform diamond push ups. Get into a push up position, but place your hands together, with your thumbs and index fingers touching to form a diamond/triangle shape. Perform these slowly and try not to flare out your elbows too much.

Recommended reps: 8-12 for 3-4 sets

Exercise #5: Incline Push Ups

These are similar to decline push ups, however here you will use an elevated platform to place your hands on when performing the push up movement.

Doing so will place a slight emphasis on your lower chest this time, adding to the overall chest workout.

Recommended reps: 12-20 for 3-4 sets

Exercise #6: Decline Push Ups

For these, you will need a step, box or other elevated platform. To begin, get into a regular push up position, but place your feet on the elevated platform. Slowly lower yourself to the floor, push up and repeat.

These will place a slight emphasis on your upper chest, allowing you to get a full all around chest workout.

Recommended reps: 12-20 for 3-4 sets


To finish off this workout, you should add in one finisher exercise. A good way to do this is to choose from one of the 6 which you have already completed, preferably the one you struggled the most on.

Here, you should perform the exercise for as many reps as you possibly can, then rest for 30 seconds and do so again, for as many reps as you can. You should aim to complete 3-4 reps of the exercise.

An alternative option is to complete one set of each exercise for as many reps as possible with a 30 second rest in between.

Exercise #7:
Stagger Plyo Push-up

Switch the position of your hands after every push-up. If this movement is too explosive or challenging for you. Simply switch your hands without the “jump” until you’re able to work your way up. 

Recommended reps: 12-20 for 3-4 sets