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August 17, 2022

6 Push Up Variations & How To Progress Them

6 Push Up Variations & How To Progress Them with Annie Miller

The push up is similar to the squat of the upper body. It’s used in nearly all physical strength and endurance tests. And it’s for good reason. They’re a great exercise. And if you want to categorize certain movements as “functional,” then I’d certainly consider the push up as one of those movements. You should be able to use your upper body to push yourself off the ground. Today we’re going to discuss six different push up variations.

Push ups are harder than people make them out to be. In fact, I’ve seen very few PROPER push ups in my days ‘round the globe gyms and certainly here on the gram. Any of these push up variations and progressions can be done from your knees.

Same rules apply to all push up variations:

Ribs stacked over hips, core engaged, glutes engaged, shoulders packed (tight lats, scaps drawn down onto your ribcage, thumbs under shoulders or just outside, elbows track at 45-60 degrees from ze bodeh.

These are in oder of easiest or most mechanically advantageous to most difficult. And thus this is the order in which one would progress through them.


1️⃣The classic push up

2️⃣The Narrow push up (tricep bias, keeping elbows glued to sides)

3️⃣The mixed/staggered stance (upper hand biases anterior delt and pecs, lower biases tricep).

4️⃣Offset push up (hands in “normal” position but one side from a deficit – adds greater range of motion to elevated side).

5️⃣Deficit push up (greater range of motion all around = higher muscular demand)

6️⃣Plyometric push up (explosive power = higher muscle demand)Push ups are amazing. I love them. I think everyone who is able should strive to improve this skill.

That’s all it is, a skill. Train the skill, progress the skill. Remember that the more you train a skill, the better it will likely get. Want to be better at push ups? Expect to do push ups in some variation.

Do you love or hate push ups? Love them when you’re at your strongest? Loathe them after some time off? Me too.

If you want to get strong, enjoy your workouts and make #educatedgains, then get on the Built by Annie waitlist. 

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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.

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