Hate push-ups? Try these 3 alternatives

Are you put off by push-ups? Push-ups are a powerhouse exercise that enhance the entire body. In one swift movement, a single push-up can strengthen the major muscle groups located in the chest, back, core, glutes, shoulders and legs. And yet, many of us cringe at the thought of performing them. Not only can the push-up be challenging and intimidating, it is incredibly uncomfortable and even dangerous to practice if you suffer from shoulder ailments or lower back pain.

So if you’ve been avoiding push-ups, the following effective, efficient and safe sequence is a great alternative.

You will need: free weights, yoga mat or carpeted surface

Chest to Im-Press

The chest press is versatile and adjustable to your fitness level. It can be completed from a gym bench, a stability ball or even on a cushiony carpet from the comfort of your home.


  • Support your lower back and arms by starting on the floor. Keep the free weights nearby as you lay in a supine position and bend at the knees, firmly pressing your feet into the floor. Push your lower back into the mat.

  • Grab your dumbbells wing your arms out to the side until they form a 90 degree angle at the shoulder joint.

  • Carefully extend your arms until the weights are hovering above your chest. Squeeze your chest muscles tight as you bring the free weights together. Hold for one count then slowly return to the starting stance. Repeat 12-15 times.


  • Remain in the same position as outlined above.

  • Lift your toes and push your heels into the ground as you elevate the hips high enough to form a straight line from the knees through the heels. Squeeze your tush tight.

  • Hold this position and perform a chest press. Repeat 12-15 times.

Parallel Planks

When we compare the structure of the body during a plank and a push-up, we can see the similarities between the two. Essentially, the push-up is a plank in motion.

The following plank is designed to perk up your pecs and carve your core. The body will be moving laterally, back-and-forth for 60 seconds.



  • Start in a plank position with the wrists aligned below the shoulders, squared hips and spine straight.

  • Keeping your core strong, move your right hand and foot to the right side. Hold for one count then return to the starting stance.

  • Now step out to the left side. Hold for one count then move back to the original plank pose. Continue this side to side pattern for 60 seconds. If you find this circuit places too much pressure on your wrists and shoulders, simply hold a standard stationary plank for 60 seconds.

Armed and Dangerous

Push-ups help to build the muscles of the back, chest, biceps, triceps and shoulders. An elbow squeeze shoulder press is a comprehensive combination that unites two exercises into one dynamic move, and ensures we hit all of the upper body muscles used during a push-up.

  • Start by standing tall with a dumbbell in each hand. Elevate the arms so the elbows form a 90 degree angle and the triceps are parallel with the floor.

  • Take a deep and on your exhale, bring the elbows in toward each other until you feel a stretch in your upper back. Inhale again to expand the chest as you pull the weights away from the body and pinch the shoulder blades together.

  • From this position, lift your weights up over head into a shoulder press then lower them to that 90 degree elbow bend. Repeat these three steps 10 times.

Practice this circuit three times.

Push your own weight by mixing up your movements.


This article originally appeared on philly.com