From Pike-Push-ups to Inclined Push-ups: 10 Effective Push-up Variations


If you haven’t started incorporating Push-ups into your home workout routine yet, start today!

Push-ups are great for your entire upper body, including chest, shoulders, biceps, and triceps, as well as a real challenge for your core and glutes. Whether you are a workout beginner or fitness pro, this functional bodyweight move is a must in your fitness routine.

Table of contents:

From Beginner to Advanced: Best 10 Push-up Variations for Your Next Home Workout

Beginner Push-up Variations

1. Wall Push-Offs and Wall Push-Ups

The Wall Push-ups and Wall Push-offs are performed on an incline (your upper body higher than your lower body) using a wall or step. The greater the angle of your body and the ground, the easier it is.

Place your hands on the incline and lower down into a Push-up. Then, push yourself up powerfully until your hands release from the incline, keep your core nice and tight. Go right back down into the next Push-up. Make sure you land with soft elbows to avoid hyperextension.

Are you a beginner?

Start with easy Wall Push-offs (with your elbows slightly bent) before adding push-ups.

2. Inclined Push-ups

Are Wall Push-ups too easy for you? Then you’re ready for the next level.

Use a chair or a box and do your Push-up off of it. Make sure your hands are directly below your chest, and your core muscles are tight. 

3. Knee Push-ups 

The Knee Push-up is done on the floor. Support your body with your knees instead of your toes. You can lift your feet and cross your calves in the air or rest them on the floor, whichever is easier for you.

For this Push-up variation, go in the push-up position and place your hands directly beneath your shoulders. Rest your knees on the floor and tighten your core. Slowly lower your upper body to the floor using your arm and shoulder muscles. Then push yourself up again to the starting position. Keep your back straight; your upper body should remain stable. 

4. Push-up Knee Drops

Start this exercise in a regular Push-up position. Tighten your core. Now rest your knees on the floor and do a push-up. When you’re finished, stretch your legs out again, controlling your body tension, and start from the beginning again. 

With Push-up Knee Drops, you will slowly build body tension, making it possible for you to hold the position longer. 

Intermediate Push-up Variations

5. Side-to-side push-up 

The Side-To-Side Push-up is an intermediate Push-up variation. 

For this bodyweight exercise, start with your hands on the floor closer than shoulder-width (as in the narrow push-up). Keeping your knees (or feet) planted, lift your right hand up and move it further to the right as you do the push-up. Push yourself up and bring the right hand back to the center. Repeat on the left side.

6. Up & Down Push-up

The Up & Down Push-up strengthens both your arms and improves your body tension.

Start off in the Push-up position with your arms extended. Now move into a low plank, resting on your forearms, then push yourself up again. Keep your body as stable as possible without swinging your pelvis. Keep your legs and core tight. If you need a break, you can hold each position for a few seconds before you move your arms up and down.


The closer together your legs are, the tougher it is to hold the position.

7. Commander push-up

To perform the Commander Push-up, first, do a regular push-up on your hands and toes. After one Push-up, engage your core and bring your right knee towards the outside of your right elbow, then back. Do another Push-up and repeat the knee-to-elbow on the left side. This variation will really work the obliques!

Advanced Push-up Variations

8. Pike Push-ups

This Push-up variation mainly works your shoulders and triceps. To do the Pike Push-up, start from the yoga position “downward-facing dog”.

Your weight should be on the tips of your toes and palms, your arms close to your chest. Now bend your elbows and lower your upper body toward the floor. Then push yourself away from the floor again. The power should come from your shoulders and not your hips. The shorter the distance between your legs and hands, the more difficult the exercise is, giving your shoulders a tougher workout.  

Our Tip:

Put a pillow on the floor the first few times you try this exercise. That way, you won’t hurt yourself if you fall on your face.

9. Push-up jack

Start in a plank position on your hands with your feet together. As you lower down into the Push-up, jump your legs out to a wider stance and then jump them back in as you push yourself up. Push-up Jacks will really get your heart rate up.

Want more of a challenge?

Try to jump into a push-up position while moving your arms and legs at the same time.

10. Alligator Push-up

The challenging part of this Push-up variation is combining the movements of the Commander Push-ups.

As you move your elbow toward your knee, drop down into a Push-up, come up, and extend your leg at the same time. Repeat this on the other side. You can make the Alligator Push-up even harder by moving forward as you do the Push-up combination. 

Are you looking for even more Push-up variations? Download the adidas Training app and get the best bodyweight exercises!


Tina Sturm-Ornezeder Tina loves the written word, avocados & yoga and is very curious. She likes to discover new trends and report on them. View all posts by Tina Sturm-Ornezeder