We at Greatist love—nay, adore—the push-up. It’s one of the simplest and most functional exercises around, and it works almost every muscle we’ve got: the triceps and chest get a great workout, but the movement also engages the shoulders, core, lats, lower back, legs, and glutes. Plus, with so many awesome push-up variations (we know 82 of them!), you’ll never get bored.
For this month’s challenge, we chose five of our favorite push-up variations to do every weekday (weekends are free for some much-needed rest). The weekly pattern stays the same all month, with standard push-ups on Monday, Spiderman push-ups on Tuesday, staggered hands on Wednesday, single-leg raised on Thursday, and ending the week with a bang (!) with explosive push-ups on Friday. You’ll only do as many reps as you can with good form in 30 seconds.
Like all Greatist monthly challenges, we’ll be right there with you every step of the way! Share your progress using hashtag #pushit, and don’t forget to have fun with it—because you’re not alone if doing four full push-ups by the end of the month would be doubling your PR. Form is also super important to avoid injury, so make sure to nail the basics and listen to your body. For details on how to do each push-up, check out the links below the calendar.
Ready to join the Greatist team as we push it to the limits? Let’s do this!
30-Day Push-Up Challenge
The Push-Up Breakdown
1. Standard Push-Up: This is the real McCoy, one of the most fundamental bodyweight exercises on earth. Treat the push-up with respect, and it’ll be a friend for life.
2. Spiderman Push-Up: This push-up brings out your creepy crawly side: Bring one knee up the side of the body toward the elbow during the “down” portion. This squeezes the obliques and will improve balance. Keep the knee in the same spot for a few reps before switching sides or bring it forward and back for each push-up.
3. Staggered-Hands Push-Up: By staggering the hands (that is, by placing one hand farther forward than the other), one is able to emphasize one side of the chest—a super useful variation for those whose strength is lagging on their non-dominant side.
4. Single-Leg Raised Push-Up: This isn’t as crazy as it sounds! Perform a push-up, but extend one leg off of the ground so that it’s parallel with the floor. This adds some extra instability and recruits your abs for extra balance.
5. Explosive Push-Up: Push so hard off the ground that the upper body soars into space and the hands are briefly in mid-air. Be sure to stretch the wrists, since this exercise puts extra impact on them.