Plyometric Push-Up

Plyometric Push-Up

You’ve probably heard the argument that it’s impossible to have an effective chest workout at home because push-ups are too easy.

Well, even if that were the case, push-ups are excellent precisely because there are challenging variations you can do. One prominent example is the plyometric push-up.

Read on to learn what that variation is, how to perform it, what makes it great, and more.

What Is the Plyometric Push-Up?

Plyometric push-ups, also known as plyo push-ups, are an advanced push-up variation that builds upper body musculature, strength, and power.

Unlike a classic push-up, where you keep your hands on the floor at all times, plyo push-ups are about generating more force off the bottom position, propelling yourself in the air. Doing so forces you to recruit more fast-twitch muscle fibers, which is beneficial for hypertrophy and power development.

Plyo push-ups can provide a great workout even for more advanced trainees because of the sheer effort required to explode off the bottom position.

Muscles Worked

Primary Muscles Worked 💪

  • Chest

Secondary Muscles Worked 💪

  • Triceps
  • Shoulder

What Makes Plyometric Push-Ups Great?

The most notable benefit of plyo push-ups is their ability to provide a good training stimulus, even for advanced trainees. That is possible because you must contract your muscles much more than during regular push-ups to propel yourself in the air. (1)

Each repetition is more challenging and disruptive, leading to better strength, power, and hypertrophy.

Another benefit of plyo push-ups is they improve cardiovascular health and endurance simply because it takes more effort to complete every set.

Plyometric Push-ups

How to Perform Plyometric Push-Ups (Step-by-Step)

  1. Get down on all fours.
  2. Lean forward and plant your hands flat on the floor. Have them slightly more than shoulder-width apart.
  3. Extend your legs to support your lower body on your toes.
  4. Retract your shoulder blades, take a deep breath, and engage your abs.
  5. Lower yourself until your face is an inch or two from the floor, and push yourself powerfully to propel yourself in the air. Your hands should lift off the floor for a moment.
  6. Land on your hands as you inhale and immediately descend into the next rep.

Safety Recommendations For Plyometric Push-Ups

Given how explosive and demanding plyometric push-ups are, the first thing you should do to ensure safety is to warm up extra well.

Begin with some light cardio to get your blood flowing––incline treadmill walking, stationary cycling, hopping in place, high knees, jumping jacks, etc.

From there, incorporate dynamic stretches to warm up your wrists, elbows, shoulders, back, hips, and lower body. Perform arm and leg swings, shoulder rations, and similar activities. Take your time to warm up the joints in your arms because they will be subject to some stress during plyo push-ups. (2)

Once done, ease into your workout with lighter warm-up sets, where you perform a less challenging push-up variation for fewer reps. For instance, do some slow, controlled classic push-ups for two to three sets.

Aside from warming up well, begin to bend your arms as soon as your hands make contact with the floor. That way, your wrists don’t have to absorb as much force when you land, which is necessary for keeping nagging aches at bay.

Here is some more info on push-ups, and why they’re a great bodyweight exercise:

Click to return to bodyweight exercises, and check out our chest exercise videos.

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David Williams

A diet and fitness enthusiast, David is an ex-Army Airborne Ranger and Infantry soldier with decades of fitness and wellness experience. A West Point graduate with a degree in engineering, he focuses on technical research related to fitness, nutrition, and wellness. He loves the beach and working out, and spending time with his wife and daughters.

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  1. Lapidos, R. (2020, May 21). The 3-part warmup checklist you should work through before doing push-ups. Well+Good.,is%20stretching%20for%2030%20seconds.
  2. Chertoff, J. (2019, June 13). Plyo pushups: Benefits, how-to, and variations. Healthline.

Click to see our medical disclosure.