7 Push-Up Alternatives

Looking to switch up your upper body workout routine? Check out these 7 push-up alternatives that will help you improve your strength and fitness in distinctive ways.

Key Takeaways:

  • Push-up alternatives provide variety and target similar muscle groups as traditional push-ups.
  • Modified push-ups are beginner-friendly and can be adapted based on individual fitness levels.
  • High plank and forearm plank engage the core muscles while also working the upper body.
  • Sun salutations offer a dynamic and full-body workout.
  • Dumbbell chest press provides a weighted option for building upper body strength.

Modified Push-Ups

If regular push-ups are too challenging, modified push-ups can be a great starting point to build upper body strength. These modified variations allow you to gradually work your way up to performing full push-ups while still reaping the benefits of this upper body workout.

Here are some modified push-up options:

  1. Knee Push-Ups: Start in a high plank position with your knees on the ground. Lower your chest towards the floor, keeping your core engaged, and then push back up. This variation reduces the amount of bodyweight being lifted, making it more accessible for beginners.
  2. Wall Push-Ups: Stand facing a wall with your arms extended and hands on the wall. Slowly lower your body towards the wall, then push back up. This variation allows you to control the level of difficulty by adjusting the distance between yourself and the wall.
  3. Elevated Surface Push-Ups: Place your hands on an elevated surface, such as a bench or step, and assume a high plank position. Lower your chest towards the surface and then push back up. This modification reduces the amount of bodyweight being lifted, similar to knee push-ups.

Modified push-ups are not only beneficial for beginners, but they can also be used as an effective strength training exercise for more advanced individuals looking to switch up their workout routine. By gradually increasing the difficulty and progressing to full push-ups, you can continue to challenge and strengthen your upper body.

High Plank

Strengthen your core while working your upper body with the high plank exercise. The high plank is a bodyweight exercise that engages multiple muscle groups, making it an effective push-up alternative. To perform a high plank, start in a push-up position with your hands directly under your shoulders and your body in a straight line from head to heels. Engage your core, squeeze your glutes, and hold the position for a set amount of time, usually 30 seconds to a minute.

The high plank primarily targets the core muscles, including the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and obliques. It also engages the upper body muscles, such as the shoulders, chest, and triceps. This exercise helps improve core stability, posture, and overall body strength. It can be modified to cater to different fitness levels by starting on the knees or performing it against an elevated surface.

To add variety and challenge to your high plank routine, you can incorporate different variations. For example, you can try the side plank to target the obliques or perform mountain climbers to increase the intensity and further engage the core muscles. Remember to maintain proper form throughout the exercise by keeping your body in a straight line and avoiding sagging or raising the hips.

Forearm Plank: A Challenging and Effective Alternative to Push-Ups

Want to target your core muscles without doing push-ups? Try the forearm plank exercise for a challenging and effective alternative. The forearm plank is a bodyweight exercise that engages the core muscles, including the rectus abdominis, obliques, and transverse abdominis.

To perform a forearm plank, start by assuming a push-up position on the floor. Instead of placing your hands on the ground, rest your weight on your forearms, with your elbows directly under your shoulders. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your heels. Engage your core muscles and hold this position for a set amount of time, gradually increasing the duration as you build strength and endurance.

The forearm plank offers numerous benefits beyond core strength. It also helps improve overall body stability, balance, and posture. By holding the plank position, you engage multiple muscle groups, including your glutes, quads, and shoulders. This exercise can be modified to suit different fitness levels by adjusting the duration or adding variations, such as lifting one leg or arm for an added challenge.

Tips for Proper Form and Technique:

  1. Keep your core muscles engaged throughout the exercise to maintain a straight, stable position.
  2. Avoid sagging or arching your back; aim for a neutral spine alignment.
  3. Focus on your breath, inhaling deeply through your nose and exhaling slowly through your mouth.
  4. Start with shorter intervals, such as 20-30 seconds, and gradually increase the duration as you progress.
  5. For a greater challenge, try lifting one leg or arm while maintaining the plank position.

The forearm plank is a versatile exercise that can be incorporated into various fitness routines or combined with other bodyweight exercises for a well-rounded workout. Remember to consult with a fitness professional if you have any underlying health concerns or injuries. By adding the forearm plank to your exercise regimen, you can target your core muscles effectively and safely, while enjoying the benefits of variety and reduced strain on your wrists and shoulders.

Sun Salutations: A Full-Body Workout at Home

Looking for a full-body workout that doesn’t involve push-ups? Sun salutations offer a comprehensive exercise routine that can be done at home. This dynamic sequence of movements combines strength, flexibility, and mindfulness to provide a complete workout for your body and mind.

Sun salutations, also known as Surya Namaskar, originate from the ancient practice of yoga. They consist of a series of flowing movements that engage multiple muscle groups and promote overall body strength. The sequence typically includes forward folds, lunges, downward-facing dog, and plank poses, among others.

By performing sun salutations, you can improve your flexibility, increase muscular endurance, and enhance your cardiovascular fitness. These bodyweight exercises require no equipment and can be modified to suit different fitness levels. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced fitness enthusiast, sun salutations offer a challenging yet accessible workout that can be tailored to your needs.

Benefits of Sun Salutations

The benefits of sun salutations extend beyond physical fitness. This mindful practice can also help reduce stress, increase mental clarity, and improve overall well-being. As you flow through the sequence, focusing on your breath and connecting with your body, you cultivate a sense of presence and calmness.

Benefits of Sun Salutations
Full-body workout targeting multiple muscle groups
Improved flexibility and range of motion
Increased muscular endurance and strength
Enhanced cardiovascular fitness
Reduced stress and improved mental well-being

To get started with sun salutations, find a quiet space in your home and set aside about 15-20 minutes for your practice. Begin by warming up your body with gentle stretches, and then follow a step-by-step guide or instructional video to learn the sequence. Remember to listen to your body, modify as needed, and focus on your breath throughout the practice.

Whether you’re looking to add variety to your workout routine or explore a new form of exercise, sun salutations can be a rewarding and invigorating choice. Give this full-body workout a try at home and experience the physical and mental benefits it offers.

Dumbbell Chest Press

Add some resistance to your upper body workout with the dumbbell chest press exercise. This exercise primarily targets the chest muscles, as well as the shoulders and triceps, making it an excellent choice for upper body strength training.

To perform the dumbbell chest press, begin by lying flat on a bench or stability ball with a dumbbell in each hand. Position your feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart. Hold the dumbbells at chest level, with your palms facing forward and your elbows bent.

Press the dumbbells upward by extending your arms, while exhaling. Be sure to keep your shoulders down and back, and maintain a slight bend in your elbows to prevent strain on the joints. Pause for a moment at the top of the movement, and then slowly lower the dumbbells back down to the starting position, inhaling as you do so.

Benefits of Dumbbell Chest Press
1. Increased upper body strength: The dumbbell chest press is a compound exercise that targets multiple upper body muscles, helping to build strength and increase muscle mass.
2. Muscle engagement: This exercise engages the pectoralis major, anterior deltoids, and triceps, providing a comprehensive upper body workout.
3. Versatility: The dumbbell chest press can be performed on a flat bench, incline bench, or even the floor, allowing for various angles and targeting different areas of the chest and shoulders.
4. Improved stability: By engaging the core muscles while performing the dumbbell chest press, you can improve your overall stability and balance.

Remember to choose an appropriate weight for your fitness level and gradually increase as you get stronger. It’s essential to maintain proper form throughout the exercise to minimize the risk of injury and maximize results. Incorporating the dumbbell chest press into your upper body workouts will add variation and intensity, helping you achieve your fitness goals.

Mountain Climbers: A Challenging Full-Body Exercise

Looking for a challenging full-body exercise? Mountain climbers are a fantastic push-up alternative that will get your heart rate up and work your core muscles. This bodyweight exercise is highly effective for building strength, improving cardiovascular endurance, and targeting multiple muscle groups simultaneously.

To perform mountain climbers, start in a high plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders and your body in a straight line from head to toe. Engage your core and bring your right knee towards your chest, then quickly switch to bring your left knee forward while extending your right leg back. Continue alternating between legs in a fluid, running-like motion.

The Benefits of Mountain Climbers

Mountain climbers offer numerous benefits for your fitness routine. Here are some key advantages:

  • Core Workout: Mountain climbers engage your core muscles, including your abs, obliques, and lower back. By stabilizing your body while performing the exercise, your core muscles are strengthened and toned.
  • Cardiovascular Endurance: The fast-paced, repetitive movement of mountain climbers elevates your heart rate, making it an effective exercise for improving cardiovascular endurance.
  • Full-Body Engagement: In addition to working your core, mountain climbers also engage your upper body, including your arms, shoulders, and chest. This makes it a great exercise for building overall upper body strength.
  • Low-Impact Option: Unlike exercises such as running or jumping, mountain climbers are low-impact, meaning they put less stress on your joints. This makes it a suitable option for individuals with joint concerns or those looking for a low-impact alternative to high-intensity exercises.

Incorporating mountain climbers into your fitness routine is a great way to add variety and intensity to your workouts. Remember to start at a pace and intensity level that is appropriate for your fitness level, and gradually increase the speed and duration as you progress. As with any exercise, it’s important to maintain proper form and technique to ensure optimal results and minimize the risk of injury.

Exercise Primary Muscles Targeted
Mountain Climbers Core muscles, upper body (arms, shoulders, chest)

Now that you know the benefits of mountain climbers, give them a try in your next workout. Incorporating this challenging full-body exercise into your routine will help you take your fitness to new heights!

Rotational Punches

Punch your way to upper body strength with rotational punches, a fun and effective push-up alternative. Rotational punches not only engage your upper body muscles, but they also target your core, making it a fantastic full-body exercise. This exercise mimics the twisting motion involved in throwing a punch, activating your arms, shoulders, chest, and core muscles.

To perform rotational punches, start by assuming a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent. Hold your fists up in front of your face, elbows bent at a 90-degree angle. Begin by rotating your hips and torso to the right as you extend your left arm forward, rotating your palm to face the floor. As you punch with your left arm, twist your right foot so that it pivots on the ball of your foot. Repeat the motion, alternating punch and pivot sides.

Rotational punches can be incorporated into a circuit-style workout or used as a standalone exercise. Aim for 3 sets of 10-15 punches on each side, gradually increasing the intensity and reps as you build strength and endurance. To add resistance, you can hold light dumbbells or resistance bands while performing the punches.

Benefits of Rotational Punches:

  • Strengthens your arms, shoulders, chest, and core muscles.
  • Improves upper body strength and power.
  • Enhances core stability and balance.
  • Increases cardiovascular endurance.
  • Engages multiple muscle groups simultaneously, maximizing workout efficiency.
Exercise Muscles Targeted
Rotational Punches Arms, Shoulders, Chest, Core
Push-Ups Chest, Shoulders, Triceps, Core
Mountain Climbers Arms, Shoulders, Core, Legs

“Rotational punches are a dynamic and engaging exercise that can help you strengthen your upper body and core muscles while adding variety to your workout routine.” – Fitness Expert

Choosing the Right Alternatives

When selecting push-up alternatives, it’s essential to consider your fitness level and goals to ensure you choose exercises that suit your needs. Whether you’re looking for a beginner-friendly option or a more challenging variation, there are plenty of alternatives to choose from for your home workouts and fitness routines.

If you’re new to strength training or recovering from an injury, modified push-ups are a great place to start. These variations, such as knee push-ups or push-ups against a wall or elevated surface, allow you to build upper body strength gradually while maintaining proper form. Plus, they offer the same benefits as traditional push-ups, targeting your chest, shoulders, and triceps.

For a full-body workout that engages your core muscles, high plank and forearm plank are excellent choices. These bodyweight exercises require no equipment and can be done anywhere. High plank, also known as the top position of a push-up, helps improve core stability and endurance. Meanwhile, forearm plank focuses on strengthening your core muscles, improving posture, and enhancing overall core strength.

If you’re looking for a more dynamic alternative to push-ups, sun salutations are worth considering. This yoga sequence combines flowing movements with deep stretches, targeting multiple muscle groups in your upper body and providing a full-body workout. Sun salutations are not just a great way to improve strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular endurance, but they also add variety and mindfulness to your fitness routine.

Push-Up Alternatives Main Muscle Groups Targeted Benefits
Modified Push-Ups Chest, Shoulders, Triceps Beginner-friendly, gradually build upper body strength
High Plank Core Muscles, Upper Body Improves core stability and endurance
Forearm Plank Core Muscles Strengthens core, improves posture
Sun Salutations Full body Improves strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular endurance

For a weighted alternative, the dumbbell chest press is an effective exercise to strengthen your upper body, specifically your chest muscles. This exercise targets the same muscle groups as push-ups but with the added resistance of dumbbells. It can be done at home with a set of dumbbells or even water bottles, making it a convenient option for your strength training workouts.

If you’re looking to engage multiple muscle groups, including your core, mountain climbers are a fantastic choice. This dynamic exercise not only works your upper body but also challenges your cardiovascular endurance. By simulating the climbing motion, mountain climbers help improve core strength, coordination, and overall fitness.

Lastly, rotational punches offer an alternative way to target your upper body, including your arms, shoulders, and core. This exercise involves twisting movements, which engage your muscles in a different way compared to traditional push-ups. Rotational punches can be done with or without weights, making them suitable for various fitness levels.

By incorporating push-up alternatives into your fitness routine, you can keep your workouts fresh, engaging, and effective. Remember to choose exercises that align with your fitness level and goals, maintaining proper form and technique throughout. Whether you prefer bodyweight exercises, yoga sequences, or weighted movements, there are plenty of options to help you achieve your desired results in the comfort of your own home.

Benefits of Push-Up Alternatives

Push-up alternatives offer a range of benefits, including targeting specific muscle groups in the upper body such as the chest, shoulders, and triceps. These exercises provide an effective way to strengthen and tone these areas while offering variety and reducing the risk of injury.

One of the main advantages of push-up alternatives is the ability to focus on specific muscle groups. For example, the dumbbell chest press targets the chest muscles, helping to develop a stronger and more defined chest. This exercise can be performed with a variety of weights, allowing for progression and adaptation as strength improves.

In addition to targeting specific muscle groups, push-up alternatives also engage the core muscles. Exercises like the high plank and forearm plank require core stability and strength to maintain proper form. This not only helps to improve abdominal strength but also improves overall posture and stability.

Push-Up Alternatives Targeted Muscle Groups
Modified Push-Ups Chest, shoulders, triceps
Sun Salutations Chest, shoulders, triceps, core, legs
Dumbbell Chest Press Chest, shoulders, triceps
Mountain Climbers Chest, shoulders, triceps, core

Additionally, push-up alternatives offer a great way to add variety to your workouts. By incorporating different exercises into your routine, you can keep your workouts fresh and engaging, preventing boredom and plateaus. This variety also helps to challenge your muscles in different ways, promoting further strength development and preventing overuse injuries.

When incorporating push-up alternatives into your fitness routine, it’s important to maintain proper form and technique. This ensures that you are targeting the intended muscle groups and reduces the risk of injury. If you’re unsure about the correct form for a particular exercise, consulting a fitness professional can help ensure you’re performing the exercise correctly and safely.

Overall, push-up alternatives are a valuable addition to any upper body workout routine. By targeting specific muscle groups, engaging the core, providing variety, and promoting proper form, these exercises help to improve strength, endurance, and overall fitness.

Maintaining Proper Form and Technique

To get the most out of your push-up alternatives, it’s crucial to maintain proper form and technique throughout each exercise. This not only maximizes the effectiveness of the workout but also reduces the risk of injury. Here are some tips to help you maintain proper form:

  1. Engage your core: Whether you’re performing modified push-ups, high planks, or rotational punches, it’s essential to engage your core muscles. This provides stability and helps to protect your lower back.
  2. Keep your spine neutral: Avoid arching or rounding your back during the exercises. Maintain a straight line from your head to your heels to ensure proper alignment and prevent strain on your spine.
  3. Control your movements: Avoid rushing through the exercises. Focus on controlled, deliberate movements to engage the targeted muscles effectively. This also helps to maintain stability and balance throughout each exercise.
  4. Breathe: Remember to breathe regularly and rhythmically throughout each exercise. Inhale as you lower your body or perform the movement and exhale as you push back up or return to the starting position.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that you are performing push-up alternatives correctly and safely. If you’re unsure about proper form or technique, consider consulting a fitness professional who can guide you through the exercises and provide personalized advice.

Remember, maintaining proper form and technique is key to getting the most out of your push-up alternatives. By doing so, you can strengthen your upper body, core, and other muscle groups effectively while minimizing the risk of injury. So, focus on form, engage your muscles, and enjoy the benefits of these varied and challenging exercises in your home workouts.

Exercise Main Muscle Groups Targeted Additional Benefits
Modified Push-Ups Chest, shoulders, triceps Builds upper body strength, suitable for beginners
High Plank Core, shoulders, triceps Improves core stability and endurance
Forearm Plank Core, shoulders Strengthens core muscles, improves posture
Sun Salutations Full body Increases flexibility, strengthens muscles, boosts overall fitness
Dumbbell Chest Press Chest, shoulders, triceps Targets chest muscles, builds upper body strength
Mountain Climbers Core, shoulders, chest Improves cardiovascular endurance, strengthens core muscles
Rotational Punches Arms, shoulders, core Enhances upper body strength and coordination


With these 7 push-up alternatives, you can add variety to your upper body workouts, target specific muscle groups, and achieve your fitness goals in distinctive ways. Start transforming your workouts today!

Push-ups are a popular exercise for building strength and endurance, but they may not be suitable for everyone. That’s where these alternative exercises come in. Modified push-ups are a beginner-friendly option that allows you to gradually progress towards full push-ups while building upper body strength. The high plank and forearm plank target not only the upper body but also the core muscles, improving stability and posture. Sun salutations provide a dynamic and full-body workout, enhancing flexibility, strength, and overall fitness.

If you prefer weighted exercises, the dumbbell chest press is a great alternative. It isolates the chest muscles while engaging the arms and shoulders. Mountain climbers are a challenging bodyweight exercise that not only works the upper body but also provides cardiovascular benefits and strengthens the core. And for a unique twist, rotational punches engage the arms, shoulders, and core muscles while improving coordination.

By incorporating these push-up alternatives into your fitness routine, you can keep your workouts fresh and engaging. Whether you choose bodyweight exercises or weighted options, you can target specific muscle groups and achieve a well-rounded upper body workout. Remember to choose alternatives that suit your fitness level and goals, and always maintain proper form and technique to maximize results and reduce the risk of injury.


Are push-ups suitable for everyone?

Push-ups can be challenging and may not be suitable for everyone. It’s important to listen to your body and consult with a fitness professional if you have any concerns or limitations.

What are some effective push-up alternatives?

Some effective push-up alternatives include modified push-ups, high plank, forearm plank, sun salutations, dumbbell chest press, mountain climbers, and rotational punches.

How can I modify push-ups?

Push-ups can be modified by performing knee push-ups, push-ups against a wall, or push-ups on an elevated surface to make them more beginner-friendly.

What muscles do high planks target?

High planks primarily target the core muscles, including the abs, lower back, and glutes, along with the upper body.

How do I perform a forearm plank?

To perform a forearm plank, start in a push-up position with your forearms on the ground. Keep your body in a straight line from head to toe and hold the position for as long as you can while maintaining proper form.

What are the benefits of sun salutations?

Sun salutations are a full-body exercise that help improve flexibility, strength, and overall fitness. They target multiple muscle groups, including the upper body, core, and legs.

How can I perform a dumbbell chest press?

To perform a dumbbell chest press, lie on a bench or the floor with dumbbells in hand. Extend your arms straight up and then lower the weights down towards your chest, keeping your elbows at a 90-degree angle. Push the weights back up to the starting position.

What muscles do mountain climbers work?

Mountain climbers work the core muscles, including the abs and obliques, along with the shoulders, arms, and legs.

How can I perform rotational punches?

To perform rotational punches, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and clench your fists. Rotate your torso and punch forward with your right hand, then rotate and punch forward with your left hand. Continue alternating punches while engaging your core.

How do I choose the right push-up alternatives for me?

It’s important to choose push-up alternatives that suit your fitness level and goals. Consider consulting with a fitness professional to determine which exercises are best for you.

What are the benefits of push-up alternatives?

Push-up alternatives target various muscle groups in the upper body, including the chest, shoulders, and triceps. They offer variety in workouts and can help improve overall strength and fitness.

How do I maintain proper form and technique when performing push-up alternatives?

To maintain proper form and technique, focus on engaging the correct muscles, maintaining a neutral spine, and avoiding excessive strain or tension. Seek guidance from a fitness professional if needed.

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