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3 Powerful Push Up Variations For Building Lean Muscle Mass

3 Powerful Push Up Variations For Building Lean Muscle Mass

Push ups are one of the most powerful exercises you can have in your arsenal of strength movements. Let’s face it…push ups are cheap, convenient, challenging and when mastered the variations are almost endless. The push up takes a backseat to nobody. As far as looking for the most immediate answer to acquiring strength, lean muscle, and efficiency what better exercise is there for your go to than the push up?

Hard Hitting Powerful Push Up Variations

So you might be able to crank out 30, 40, 50, or 60 straight push ups all at one time. That’s very impressive my friend, but what happens when you’re able to destroy the traditional push up on a regular basis and you are ready to upgrade the difficulty level to present yourself with a new challenge?

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The answer to this little riddle basically involves two parts. The first part is where we can go and concentrate on adding a load for intensity such as with free weights, weighted vests, or other forms of resistance. Loading is great, but if we’re short on those resources and talking about solely utilizing our own body’s resistance for the purpose of making gains then we can simply vary the style of push up for a more desired challenge and outcome.

It’s for this reason as to why I’m going to cover 3 solid and unique push up drills for you to try here that will change up the way you perform the drill. I promise this will certainly give you a whole new perspective on how to do push ups and how to go about intensifying the challenge of the drill. So buckle your chinstrap and get ready to do some work!

I. The 5 Hand Position Push Up Complex: 

As you can see this drill is great for constantly challenging you because of the stressing demand of having to change your hand position. By simply changing our hand position we work to redistribute our bodyweight causing the drill to be more challenging compared to performing the same motion in a more repetitive fashion.

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This drill consists of 5 different hand positions including a close thumbs touching position, a standard hand width, a wide hand width, and a staggered hand width on both the right and left sides. With each push up you change your hand position. After completing all five positions you have executed a single repetition for this particular variation!

To start out I would recommend attempting 3 to 5 repetitions per set of this drill. Trust me, it’s a lot more challenging than it looks. Give it a shot.

II. The Mountain Climber Push Up

In contrast to the 5 hand position push up this particular push up drill focuses more on foot movement rather than hand movement. With each rep here we want to pull one knee up to our chest between each push up. Alternate with the right and left knee with each push up repetition.

This single variation immediately adds a new challenge as once again weight distribution is being a huge factor in a way that’s more impactful than it may appear at first. This particular push up variation is one that is great for building up the midsection and training you to learn how to pull the knee up towards the torso…which is also essential for other athletic activities such as sprinting and jumping.

III.  Plank To Push Up Transitions

This is a fantastic push up to teach body control. Once again the focus is on hand placement, but these will reveal to a trainee in a hurry whether or not they are performing the movement with sufficient strength and stability. The reason I say this is that many people will tend to bang their forearms, or place the arms too heavily on the ground when making each transition. If you’re not sure about how to do this then you might want to seek out more online coaching.

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PostStyle2_BrandAmbassador_v1As a result a weaker trainee may cause scrapes on his/her elbows, or almost just sort of clumsily fall into the plank position. This is why this particular one is not for everyone. Once again we’re looking for new challenges right? Give these a try and make sure you’re smooth in your transitions. Be smooth by performing the moving with sufficient control. To start out try to perform 5 to 7 reps per set of these on each side.

What kind of push up variations are you including in your arsenal of strength drills? Don’t be shy and make sure to post up in the comments below. Stay strong and keep training smart.

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I'm a Certified Strength And Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and author. I have had over 17 years experience in MMA fitness, strength and conditoning, and athletic performance for most every sport. As an author and specialist I've written close to a million words on fitness and strength. I'm also a Muay Thai practictioner and enjoy helping others to reach their peak potential through fitness and performance.

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