Work Those Shoulders: How to Add a New Dimension to the Standard Push-Up

By April 24, 2016Between The Lines

Due to the constant repetitive motion, volleyball players are very susceptible to shoulder injuries. This is why keeping your shoulders strong will not only help lower your risk for chronic injuries, it will also help your performance out on the court. Push-ups are vital to beach volleyball players, and can be argued to be one of the best exercises you can do. Push-ups don’t just build up your chest and triceps, they strengthen your core, back, as well as your shoulders. Push-ups are an excellent exercise for volleyball players as it helps prepare your shoulder joints for the shock that occurs from the repetitive, overhead motion. Push-ups are a good way to build up your shoulders and are highly recommended for any serious beach volleyball player if you want a stronger upper body and become a more efficient and effective player. But what happens when you become burnt out on the standard push-up?

Push-Up Variations

When doing the standard push-ups doesn’t cut it anymore, there are ways to add some flair to your workout routine and get more out of your push-ups. Check out some push-up variations and learn the ways you can make push-ups more effective and challenging.

1. Clapping Push-Ups to Build Explosive Power

Place your hands on the floor, slightly wider than your shoulders, with your fingers pointing directly ahead. Place your body weight on your hands and feet and lift your body off the floor, while contracting your muscles so you are holding your body in a straight line. Once in position, lower your body by bending your elbows until they are bent to about 90 degrees. Then explosively push yourself up into the air, making sure you are high enough for your hands to leave the floor. When your upper body is up in the air, clap your hands, and as soon as you land, lower into the next repetition and repeat the exercise.

2. Medicine Ball Push-Ups for Instability Training

Assume a push-up position on top of a medicine ball, and perform your push-ups while stabilizing yourself on the medicine ball. Be sure to keep your elbows tight to your sides when performing a push-up. To add more of a challenge, add in a second medicine ball so you can perform push-ups as you normally would, but instead of placing your hands and feet on the floor, you place them on the medicine ball!

3. Add Some Resistance to Challenge your Strength

In order to challenge your strength throughout an entire push-up repetition, bring a resistance band overhead and place across your upper back and arms. Hold the band in each palm, and then perform your usual push-up and feel the resistance.

4. Negative Push-Ups for Serious Strength Gains

For this variation, you want to perform your push-up like usual, except you slow down the time you take to lower yourself. You want to lower your body over a period of 3 – 4 seconds, and then explode back up; with each time, you lower your body over 3 – 4 seconds. By slowly lowering yourself down, you increase the time your muscles are under tension and this can seriously help your strength.

5. Make Your Push-Up Brutal with Isometric Push-Ups

Instead of lowering your body over a period of 3 – 4 seconds, now you will want to hold the bottom position of a push-up for 3 – 4 seconds before exploding back up. Holding the bottom position is very challenging, and will also increase your time under tension, making it more difficult to raise your body upwards.