What Are the Best Alternatives to Pushups?

6 Min Read

Pushups are often hailed as one of the most efficient bodyweight exercises for building upper body strength and endurance.

However, not everyone finds them enjoyable or suitable for their fitness goals or physical capabilities.


Fortunately, there are numerous alternatives to pushups that target similar muscle groups while providing variety and challenge to your workout routine.

In this article, we’ll delve into a comprehensive list of alternatives to pushups, catering to various fitness levels and preferences.


Bench Press:

The bench press is a classic strength training exercise that primarily targets the chest, shoulders, and triceps.

It can be performed with a barbell or dumbbells, allowing for variations in grip width and hand positioning to target different muscle groups.


Beginners can start with lighter weights and gradually increase resistance as they progress.

Dumbbell Flyes:

Dumbbell flyes isolate the chest muscles and are an excellent alternative to pushups for sculpting and defining the pecs.


Lie on a flat bench with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing inward.

Extend your arms straight up, then lower the weights out to the sides in a controlled motion, keeping a slight bend in the elbows.


Avoid using excessive weight to prevent strain on the shoulder joints.

Chest Dips:

Chest dips primarily target the chest, shoulders, and triceps while also engaging the core for stability.


Use parallel bars or a dip station, supporting your bodyweight with straight arms. Lower yourself until your elbows are bent at a 90-degree angle, then push back up to the starting position.

Beginners can use assistance bands or a dip machine to reduce the load until they build sufficient strength.


Push-up Variations:

While traditional pushups may not be appealing to everyone, there are numerous variations that cater to different fitness levels and goals.

Incline pushups, decline pushups, diamond pushups, and plyometric pushups are just a few examples of variations that target specific muscle groups or add intensity to the exercise.


Experiment with different hand placements, surfaces, and equipment to find variations that suit your preferences and abilities.

Plank Variations:

Planks are excellent for strengthening the core, shoulders, and stabilizing muscles throughout the body.


Variations such as side planks, plank with leg lifts, and plank with arm reaches add complexity and challenge to the exercise.

Aim to hold each plank variation for at least 30 seconds, gradually increasing the duration as you build strength and endurance.



Pull-ups and chin-ups are superb bodyweight exercises for targeting the back, biceps, and forearms.

Use an overhand grip for pull-ups (palms facing away) and an underhand grip for chin-ups (palms facing towards you).


Beginners can use assistance bands or a pull-up assist machine to gradually build strength until they can perform the exercises unassisted.

Dumbbell Rows:

Dumbbell rows are effective for strengthening the back muscles, particularly the lats and rhomboids.


Stand with a dumbbell in each hand, hinge forward at the hips, and keep your back flat. Pull the weights towards your hips, squeezing your shoulder blades together at the top of the movement.

Focus on keeping your core engaged and avoiding excessive swinging or momentum.


Renegade Rows:

Renegade rows combine elements of pushups and rows to target the chest, shoulders, back, and core simultaneously.

Start in a plank position with a dumbbell in each hand. Perform a pushup, then row one weight up towards your hip while stabilizing your body with the other arm.


Alternate rows between each arm, maintaining a stable plank position throughout the exercise.

Medicine Ball Pushups:

Medicine ball pushups add instability to the traditional pushup, challenging the core muscles for greater activation.


Place one hand on a medicine ball and the other on the floor, performing pushups while balancing on the ball. Switch hand positions between repetitions to target both sides evenly.

Beginners can start with a larger medicine ball for added stability before progressing to smaller, more challenging variations.


Resistance Band Exercises:

Resistance bands are versatile tools for strength training that can be used to mimic the resistance of traditional weightlifting exercises.

Band chest presses, band rows, and band shoulder presses are just a few examples of exercises that can effectively target the muscles worked during pushups.


Adjust the resistance level by using bands with different thickness or by varying the distance from the anchor point to increase or decrease tension.


While pushups are a valuable exercise for building upper body strength and endurance, they are by no means the only option available.


Incorporating a variety of alternatives into your fitness routine can prevent boredom, target specific muscle groups, and accommodate individual preferences and abilities.

Whether you’re a beginner looking to build foundational strength or an experienced lifter seeking new challenges, the alternatives to pushups outlined in this article offer a range of options to help you achieve your fitness goals.


Remember to prioritize proper form, gradually increase resistance, and listen to your body to ensure a safe and effective workout experience.


Share This Article
Leave a comment