Push ups are one of the top four most commonly used exercises in bootcamp sessions.
That doesn’t mean we should stop using them as often, but it does mean that maybe it’s time to get a little more creative with what variations we use.
The variations below feature two important aspects:
- they don’t require any additional equipment
- they are really easy to coach.
I see a lot of trainers pulling the latest crazy advanced push up they found on YouTube and trying to include it in their bootcamp. And then I see no one at that bootcamp actually doing the movement correctly.
Bootcamp movements should be effective and easy to coach. We want out clients getting the most out of their session while also keeping them safe and mobile with correct technique.
1. Yoga Push Ups
Use this movement in your warm ups to help open the shoulders.
2. Chest 2 Deck Push Ups
How many of your campers don’t use full ROM with push ups? Start replacing all of your regular push ups with these and see what happens.
3. Hand Release Push Ups
Unlike the Chest to Deck above, this push up involves starting at a dead weight on the ground each rep. Have your campers brace their core, watch for saggy hips.
4. Pike Push Ups
These are a LOT harder than regular push ups so quarter the reps/time that a camper could normally do. Tell campers to push their ‘butts backwards’ instead of just pushing their head and shoulders away from the ground.
5. Clapping Push Ups
For advanced clients only. Keep the reps low on these so campers don’t start kipping their body to try and get their hands off the ground. Low reps doesn’t mean you can’t do many sets…
6. Push Up Jacks
Get the legs moving and heart beating in this push up variation.
7. Commando Push Ups
Add a bit of instability to a regular push up with this combo of a hand release push up and a controlled mountain climber.
8. Push Up with Knee Tap
Create more instability here by removing the opposite arm and leg from the ground for a knee tap.
9. Hindu Push Ups
Not to be confused with a dive bomber push up, this is actually an easier variation that comes from a yoga sequence. A great strength building alternative.
10. T-Push Ups
This was one of my favourites to include at bootcamp. It’s really easy to learn and includes much needed transverse plane work.
11. Lateral Push Ups
Who says push ups need to be in the same place? Get moving side to side with lateral push ups.
12. Walk Out to Push Up
Another moving push up. You can keep this going in a straight line like inch worms or just do them out and back as filmed.
13. Assisted 1 Arm Push Ups
Got strong clients? Instead of 50 easy push ups, have them do 10 of these on each side.
14. Did I miss one?
Share with us the push up your clients love to hate in the comments below.
See these exercises in action in Workouts – a collection of over 50 indoor and outdoor bootcamp workout ideas.
Kyle Wood created Bootcamp Ideas in 2010 when he was hunting around on the internet for workout ideas. He ran a successful bootcamp in Victoria, Australia and spends his spare time managing this site, adventuring (or lazying) with his wife and find new ways to make bootcamps even better.
Cliff Holding says
Hi Kyle, I especially like the hand release version above. I will be using that in my camps. I like use a split push up whereby one hand is in the normal position and the other is placed out in front, changing hands after every rep. Also feet up on an incline or step for my more advanced students.
Kyle Wood says
Oh of course I forgot about the split push up! It’s funny how you learn 3 new exercises and forget 10 others.
Thanks for reminding me Cliff 🙂
Mandi W says
Hi Kyle. I really like, what I call, “Spiderman Push-ups” As you go down, you bring one knee up and out toward your elbow. Then repeat with the other leg. These are great for balance and core stability and really target the obliques as well as chest and triceps.