Pushups are a classic exercise that targets the arms, chest and shoulders. No special equipment is needed for this bodyweight workout and pushups can be performed virtually anywhere. Although effective, pushups can sometimes get monotonous and boring. Creative pushups make upper body workouts more fun and challenging.
Scorpion pushups may look a little strange but this exercise is an intense upper body workout. The exercise is performed by getting into pushup position and lifting one foot off the floor. The goal is to bring that foot across the back toward the opposite shoulder as the pushup is performed. The feet should be switched with each repetition. This “scorpion” position increases the workload on one arm at a time. This exercise can also build strength for the eventual performance of one-handed pushups.
Diamond pushups are a particularly effective exercise for developing the triceps. This exercise is performed by putting the hands together in a diamond shape on the floor. The tips of the forefingers should touch and the tips of the thumbs should touch. While doing this type of pushup, the diamond shape should be lined up directly below the chest. The elbows should be kept in and not flail outward.
Training with a partner often adds fun and motivation to a workout. A variety of types of pushups can be performed with a partner. For example, training partners can slap hands while practicing this exercise. This workout is executed by both partners getting into pushup position across from each other. After a repetition is completed, the training buddies lift their right hands off the floor and slap their hands together. Upon the completion of the next pushup, the left hands are slapped together. This routine motivates both partners to complete their pushups.
Elevated pushups are performed by getting into pushup position and elevating the feet. For example, the feet can be placed on a small step, a couch or a exercise ball. The workload placed on the upper body increases with the increase in elevation of the feet. The intensity of a pushup is decreased if the hands are elevated. For beginners, pushups can be performed against a wall while standing.
Plyometric pushups are an extremely challenging version of this exercise. These pushups are performed by pushing the hands and upper body up into the air during each repetition. A quick clap of the hands is typically performed before returning the hands to the floor. The difficulty of this exercise is increased by pushing the entire body into the air, including the feet.
American Council on Exercise: Push-Up