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best push ups variations

Best Push-Ups Variations For Targeting The Full Chest Muscle And Triceps

Push-ups are a classic exercise that engages multiple muscle groups and builds upper body strength.

In this blog post, we delve into various types of push-ups, discuss muscle-building supplements to enhance your performance and explore common adjustments that target different muscles.

Get ready to take your push-up game to the next level!

Traditional Push-Up: The Foundation of Strength

Mastering the Traditional Push-Up

Chances are, you’ve already seen how it’s done in gyms, on YouTube, and even movies. But we’ll still note down the steps. 

  • Start in a plank position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Lower your body by bending your elbows until your chest touches the ground.
  • Push back up, extending your arms fully.
  • This exercise primarily targets the chest, triceps, and shoulders.

Common mistakes with the traditional pushup:

  • Sagging or arching the back: Keep your body in a straight line from head to heels throughout the movement. Avoid sagging your hips or arching your lower back, as this can lead to poor form and decreased effectiveness.
  • Flaring the elbows out excessively: Maintain a slight tuck of the elbows as you lower your body, which helps to protect the shoulder joints and engage the chest muscles effectively.

Wide-Arm Push-Up: Expanding the Chest

Enhancing Chest Activation with Wide-Arm Push-Ups
  • Place your hands wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Perform the push-up, maintaining a strong core and controlled movement.
  • This push ups variation emphasizes the pectoral muscles (chest) and also engages the shoulders and triceps to a lesser extent.

Common mistakes with the wide-arm pushup:

  • Placing hands too wide: While a wide hand position is essential for this variation, avoid going too wide to the point where it compromises your shoulder stability. Find a position that allows you to maintain proper form and engage the chest muscles without strain.
  • Allowing the hips to sag: Keep your core engaged and your body in a straight line throughout the movement. Avoid letting your hips sag or lift too high, as it can reduce the effectiveness of the exercise.

Diamond Push-Up: Triceps Focus

Shaping Strong Triceps with Diamond Push-Ups
  • Position your hands close together, forming a diamond shape with your index fingers and thumbs.
  • Lower your body, keeping your elbows close to your sides.
  • Push back up, focusing on contracting the triceps.
  • Diamond push-ups target the triceps, with additional involvement from the chest and shoulders.

Common mistakes with the diamond pushup:

  • Improper hand placement: Make sure to position your hands close together, forming a diamond shape with your index fingers and thumbs. Placing your hands too far forward or backward can compromise the targeting of the triceps.
  • Dropping the head or raising the hips: Maintain a neutral head position, aligned with your spine. Avoid dropping your head or raising your hips, as it can lead to poor alignment and decreased engagement of the triceps.

Incline Push-Up: Beginners’ Modification

Building Strength with Incline Push-Ups
  • Place your hands on an elevated surface, such as a bench or step, with your feet on the ground.
  • Lower your body, maintaining a straight line from head to heels.
  • Push back up, engaging the chest, shoulders, and triceps.
  • Incline push-ups are an excellent modification for beginners or individuals who need to reduce the intensity while still targeting the upper body muscles.

Common mistakes with the incline pushup:

  • Allowing the shoulders to shrug: Keep your shoulders down and away from your ears throughout the exercise. Shrug-free shoulders promote better stability and engagement of the chest and triceps.
  • Not maintaining a straight line: Similar to traditional push-ups, avoid sagging or arching your back. Keep your body in a straight line from head to heels, even with the elevated surface.

Decline Push-Up: Elevated Challenge

Amplifying Difficulty with Decline Push-Ups
  • Place your feet on an elevated surface, such as a step or bench, with your hands on the ground.
  • Lower your body, ensuring a controlled descent.
  • Push back up, focusing on engaging the upper chest, shoulders, and triceps.
  • Decline push-ups shift more of the workload onto the upper chest, making them more challenging than traditional push-ups.

Common mistakes with the decline pushup:

  • Placing hands too wide or narrow: Find a hand position that allows for proper alignment and engagement of the upper chest. Placing your hands too wide or narrow can lead to inefficient muscle recruitment.
  • Collapsing the lower back: Maintain a strong core and avoid letting your lower back sag or collapse. Keep your body in a straight line to ensure optimal targeting of the upper chest muscles.

Supplements for Muscle Building:

  • Whey Protein: Provides essential amino acids for muscle repair and growth.
  • Creatine: Enhances strength and power, aiding in muscular performance during push-ups. 
  • Beta-Alanine: Delays muscle fatigue, allowing for increased training volume and intensity. 
  • BCAAs (Branched-Chain Amino Acids): Supports muscle recovery and reduces muscle soreness. 
  • L-Arginine: Enhances blood flow, promoting nutrient delivery to muscles and aiding in their growth.

Common Adjustments for Muscle Targeting:

  • Hand positioning: Adjusting hand width alters the emphasis on different muscles. Wider hand placement targets the chest, while a narrower grip focuses more on the triceps.
  • Incline or decline variations: Altering the angle of your body during push-ups shifts the emphasis to different muscle groups. Incline push-ups target the lower chest, while decline push-ups target the upper chest.
  • Tempo variations: Changing the speed at which you perform push-ups can impact muscle recruitment. Slowing down the lowering phase (eccentric) or emphasizing the pushing phase (concentric) can intensify muscle activation.


By incorporating different types of push-ups into your workout routine, you can target specific muscle groups and challenge your strength in new ways. Remember to choose supplements wisely to support your muscle-building goals and consult with a healthcare professional or nutritionist for personalized advice. 

Adjustments in hand positioning, incline/decline push-up variations, and tempo can further enhance muscle targeting during push-ups. So, pump up your push-ups, experiment with variations, and fuel your progress with the right supplements for optimal muscle growth and strength gains.

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