The standard pushup is a force to be reckoned with all on its own; not only does it work the chest, but also shoulders, arms, and even a bit of core. That is quite a lot of for just one exercise; this makes the pushup invaluable to any body-weight routine. However, there are alternative variations that can help you get even more out of pushups. The following list includes four pushup variations that can improve and diversify body-weight routines.
Scapular pushups, or “scap” pushups, work the muscles that control your shoulder blades. This variation improves strength, control, and stability in the upper body. It helps you get the most out of future workouts involving shoulder movements. Here is a demonstration video on Scapula pushups by Andrew Sacks.
Knuckle pushups are the same as standard pushups. The only difference is that the pressure is on the knuckles rather than the palms. This variation is useful for those that suffer from wrist injuries as it relieves the strain typically caused by the standard pushup. It is also beneficial for those involved in combat sports, as it strengthens the knuckles, forearm, and wrist. This video by Livestrong explains the benefits of knuckle pushups and showcases the form.
Dive Bomber Pushup
Dive Bomber Pushups work a variety of upper body muscle groups including your abs, chest, back and shoulders. It even touches on the hamstrings and quads in the lower body. The variation also includes simple yoga techniques, which improves flexibility. Howcast provides an excellent video on how to perform the dive bomber variation.
It may seem Hollywood, but clap pushups are good for body-weight routines. This plyometric technique forces you to use a more powerful movement. It increases power and provides a higher caloric burn during exercise owing to the intensity of the variation. Formulated Fitness has a video on the proper technique for clap pushups.