Perfect Push Ups For Your Workout

The push up is one of the most effective exercises that you can do.  In order to do the perfect push up, you have to use a number of muscle groups, such as your chest, shoulders, triceps, and core.  Recruiting muscles from all these different parts of the body increases the number of calories you burn.  As a general rule of thumb, try and do exercises that use multiple muscle groups.  There are a lot of different variations of the push up, which makes it such a great exercise.  

Switching up the type of push ups you do also recruits different muscles, so you're not working the same ones over and over again.  You can diversify your workout by adding any of these variations of the classic push up.

Diamond Push Up
This exercise is where you have your hands close together, with your index fingers and thumbs touching.  This forms a diamond shape, hence the name diamond push up.  I find that this push up is a little more difficult than a normal, mainly because I have small hands.  Being able to control my body with my hands so close together isn't easy, so when I become fatigued, it's hard to complete them with proper form.  This push up also targets your tricep muscles more than a regular push up does.

Decline Push Up
This exercise is where you have your hands on the floor, a little more than shoulder width apart.  They're in the same position as if you were doing a regular push up.  However, your feet are elevated up on an exercise ball.  This almost makes it a balancing exercise, which helps improve your overall fitness.

Wide Fly Push Up
This exercise is basically the opposite of the diamond push up.  In this exercise, your hands are moved out wide, outside of your shoulders.  It's important that you don't place your hands too wide, because that can lead to injury.  This push up targets more of the outer pectoral muscles.

Military Push Up
This exercise is where you have your hands right underneath your chest, with your elbows almost touching your sides. It's kind of in between the diamond push up and a regular push up.  As you lower your body down toward the floor, your arms should scrape against your sides.  It's also more difficult than a regular push up, because your hands are in closer.

Dive Bomber Push Up
For this exercise, you start with wide hands and wide feet.  Again, not too wide so it doesn't compromise your form.  You then lower your upper body down and bring your head up toward the ceiling, followed immediately by bring your head back down toward the floor.  This one is a little more difficult to explain.  Think as though you're sliding under a fence, so now your arms are straight and head is up.  You then crawl back under the fence and return to your starting position.  That's considered 1 rep.

Switch Grip Push Up
This exercise is where you have one of your hands placed up past your pectoral muscle, with the other back by your stomach.  For the next set, you switch it up, so your other hand is now up by your pectoral muscle and the hand that was up front is now back by your stomach.

One Hand Push Up
This exercise is pretty self-explanatory.  You have your feet should width apart, with one hand on the floor, and the other behind your back.  These are obviously very hard.  If you can't do them, you can try going to your knees.  That's how I started doing them.  It takes a lot of balance and strength.

Corn Cob Push Up
This exercise is where you start in a normal push up position, lower your body toward the ground, then with your body almost touching the ground, you move it to the left, then over to the right, then back to the middle and push yourself up.  That's one repetition.  As you can image, these are also very difficult.

Clap Push Up
This exercise is where you lower your body down toward the ground, and then you push yourself back up and lift your hands off the ground.  Once you're in the air, you clap your hands before they land back on the ground.  This is also a more advanced push up, so if you have trouble regular push ups, I would avoid this one at the beginning.

Slow Push Up
This move uses the same form as a regular push up, you just take a longer time doing it.  From a normal push up position, you slowly lower yourself down for the count of 4 seconds.  You then push yourself back up slowly, for the count of 4 seconds.  That's one rep.

Additional Equipment
There's additional equipment that you can use as aides in your push up exercises.  The easiest thing would be dumbbells, if you already have them.  Doing a regular push up, with your hands gripping dumbbells, gives you a greater range of motion.  This means you can lower your body down farther than if your hands were on the ground.  It definitely makes them more challenging.  You can also buy push up bars or the perfect push up, which both help in providing a greater range of motion
for your push ups.  They also take some of the stress off your wrists, which can help prevent injury.