The standard pushup is a classic strength-building exercise. It gives the muscles in your chest, shoulders, arms, back, and abdominal region an excellent workout.
As with many exercises, there are variations of pushups that can work your muscles in different ways while adding variety to your exercise routine.
There are several types of reverse pushups, each with the ability to challenge your upper-body muscles in a unique way.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at three reverse pushups, along with the benefits and instructions on how to do each one.
As you might imagine, some types of reverse pushups have you facing up rather than looking down at the floor. Other variations have you starting from a different position.
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If you’re looking for some variety to your pushup routine, consider these three variations of reverse pushups.
One popular type of reverse pushup is similar to a triceps dip. This exercise is especially effective at strengthening your triceps and challenging the muscles in your abs and back, while boosting upper-body conditioning.
To do this exercise:
- Start by sitting on the floor with your knees bent and hands on the floor beneath your shoulders.
- Push off the floor, straightening your upper body and arms so your shoulders are directly above your hands.
- With your hips pushing your body upward, straighten your legs so your body is supported only by your hands and heels.
- Hold that position for several seconds, then slowly lower your body until your butt touches the floor.
- That’s 1 rep. Try a few reps at first, with the ultimate goal of doing several sets of 10 to 15 reps.
A version of this reverse pushup can be done as a dip:
- Instead of having your hands on the floor, place your hands behind you on a bench or sturdy chair.
- With your weight on your hands, lower yourself until your upper arms are almost parallel to the floor.
- Push up until your arms are straight again. Repeat the move.
Another kind of reverse pushup has you starting with your chest close to the ground. It involves pushing your buttocks up in the air before returning to a standard pushup position.
The motion might remind you of the rods along train wheels rapidly moving up and back and then forward again.
This reverse pushup variation works your entire upper body, especially your arms and shoulder muscles. It gives your lower body a workout, too: Doing them quickly adds an effective cardio element to your workout.
To do this exercise:
- Start with your body straight and your arms bent, holding yourself an inch or two off the floor, like the halfway point of a regular pushup.
- Push your buttocks upward and backward toward your feet, making sure your knees don’t touch the floor.
- Keep your hands flat on the floor, so that at the end of the move, your arms are extended straight in front of you.
- Return to the starting position.
- This is 1 rep. Start slowly, and gradually build up to doing a couple of sets of 8 to 12 reps.
A third kind of reverse pushup is like a traditional pushup in every way — other than the position of your hands.
Instead of having your hands and fingers pointing forward, as they do with a standard pushup, your hands are flat, but with your fingers pointing back toward your feet.
This variation gives your biceps an extra challenging workout.
As with most exercises, proper form is essential with reverse pushups. Doing the exercises correctly helps you avoid injury. It also ensures that you get the most benefits from these moves.
Your shoulders and lower back are especially vulnerable to injury if you don’t use the correct form. If you’ve had a wrist, shoulder, or back injury, talk to your doctor or physical therapist before trying any type of pushup.
Start slowly, and don’t try to rush things. Go at a pace that’s comfortable for you. Slowly try to build up to doing more reverse pushups over a course of time.
Reverse pushups can be done anywhere, anytime. You don’t need any special equipment to do them. These exercises may be especially beneficial on days when you don’t have access to a gym or are pressed for time.
Like their traditional counterpart, reverse pushups are an excellent strength-building exercise that target most of the muscle groups in your upper body.
Try to include reverse pushups with other strength-building exercises for a well-rounded workout routine.
If you have a health condition or an injury, talk to your doctor or a certified personal trainer before doing reverse pushups.