No one can deny the benefits that you can get from push-ups. It won’t be part of many fitness routines if it only gives mediocre results. Sure, it may look easy, and many beginners menus have it. However, the intensity and challenge of executing push-ups and maintaining a good form are beyond child’s play. It’s exhausting, no matter what your fitness level is!

Push Up and push up alternatives work almost all the muscles of the entire body. Although the triceps and chest muscles are the main focus, they also engage the lower back, glutes, legs, lats, core, and shoulders. While the push up exercise bears a lot of good things, many would instead do more strenuous workouts than drop down for a few pushes. Who can blame them since this exercise is very demanding! Those who have not tried out the Push Up Bar or Push Up Board should consider investing in a good one for the many Benefits it offers. Another alternative is the Parallettes that are now extensively utilized by strong and advanced calisthenics athletes since they allow for a variety of dynamic bodyweight workouts such as pushups, dips, planches, swing-throughs, and handstand push-ups.

So, if you want to skip doing a push-up but reaps the same benefits, do these ten push up alternatives instead!

Before you start looking for upper body muscle-building exercises, consider the major muscle groups that a standard push-up covers. If it does, check the range of motion. Once you see those boxes ticked, that is a green light to proceed.

Push-up alternative exercises are perfect if you are far out with push-ups or your fitness level is not that high. These workouts will train you to get proper muscle activation and are an excellent way to shuffle your program. On top of that, you can do these alternatives even if you have minor injuries or weakness in your back, wrists, and shoulders.

1. Rotating Plank

A rotating plank will engage not only your upper body muscles but also your lower body muscles. It targets the lats, shoulders, abs, glutes, and obliques. Performing rotating planks will help you strengthen your core and enhance your balance. You can do this exercise with a dumbbell but if you do this variation, make sure that you stiffen your wrist to avoid injuring your joints.

How to do it

  • Lift yourself to a high plank position. 
  • Open your chest and hips to the right side to take on a side plank position
  • Raise your left hand to the ceiling, rotating through your entire torso. Your pelvis will twist but keep it level.
  • Bring your left hand back to the ground, and repeat to the other side to finish one set. 
  • Do ten to fifteen reps to complete a set.

2. Dumbbell Bench Press

Doing bench presses by itself is hard enough, but with dumbbells in the mix, they become an equivalent to a traditional push-up. A dumbbell chest press activates your arms, chest, and shoulder muscles and all you’ll need is a flat bench and dumbbells. If you want to challenge your lower body muscles more, do it on a stability ball.

How to do it

  • Start by lying down on a Bench
  • Grab a dumbbell in each hand outside your shoulders with your palms facing your wrist. 
  • Press up over your head so that they’re in one straight line over your chest. 
  • Slowly lower them down and return to the starting position for one rep.
  • Do as many repetitions as you can or as necessary.

3. Forearm Plank

This bodyweight exercise may look simple, but once you’re the one holding a plank, a minute will feel like an eternity! Forearm planks are the ideal alternative if you hurt your wrist, yet you want to work your glutes and core similarly to push-ups. Also, the longer you hold this plank position, the more significant the impact on your upper body muscles.

How to do it

  • Get into the starting position by going down on all fours.
  • Put your forearms on the floor and stack your shoulders directly above your elbows. 
  • Keep your hips piled above your knees. Then, position your feet to plant your toes on the ground.
  • Take your feet off the floor and create a straight line with your body from your head to hips to heels.
  • Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute before releasing.
  • Repeat if necessary.

4. Overhead Press

This push-up alternative will do wonders for your shoulder muscles, core, and triceps. An overhead press is excellent for toning the abdomen, helping you shape those six-pack abs! Also, it can improve your core strength and deeply engage your core muscles.

How to do it

  • Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Grab a dumbbell in each hand with your wrists facing each other. Align the weights with your shoulders.
  • Keep your knees soft and core engaged. Then, press the weights up overhead.
  • Fully stretch your arms and lower the dumbbells with control going back at shoulder level.
  • Repeat as many reps as you can.

5. Modified Push-Up

This exercise resembles a standard push-up the most. However, it’s still suitable for beginners and intermediate fitness levels. A modified push-up takes a lot of stress away from the legs and abs. Because of this, the focus is on your chest and shoulders. Just make sure that you concentrate on the form instead of the speed.

How to do it

  • Start by doing a tabletop position.
  • Move your hands a foot forward to make a straight line from your knees to your shoulders.
  • Lower your chest with your feet lifting off the floor as the push-up goes to the ground.
  • Keep your core tight as you lower your torso to the floor.

6. TRX Chest Fly

Using the TRX strap will help you improve your balance, stability, and strength. This exercise is an excellent alternative for push-ups because it works your core, shoulders, chest, and other small stabilizer muscles.

How to do it

  • With your back to the anchor, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Hold the handles with an overhand grip and put your arms in front at shoulder level.
  • Lean forward up till your body is at a diagonal.
  • Slowly spread your arms out to a T position. Bend your elbows slightly as you lower your chest to the floor.
  • Reverse the motion and return to the starting position to complete one rep.

7. Tricep Dips

This Tricep Dips will not only target your triceps but will also help you engage your core and enhance your shoulder strength. 

How to do it

  • Sit on the floor with your legs straight and knees bent. 
  • Put your hand behind you and use them to lift yourself off the floor. 
  • Carefully bend your elbow together and bring yourself to the ground again.
  • Repeat the same movement until you get the hang of it.

8. Floor Press

This substitute for push-ups is ideal if you have neck and shoulder pain. You can also do this in replacement for bench presses and crunches if you feel discomfort in your neck and shoulder muscles.

How to do it

  • Lie down on the ground (better on a yoga mat to be more comfortable), and grab a dumbbell.
  • Bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle. 
  • Push the weight to full extension, contracting your chest and triceps.
  • Slowly lower the weight until your elbows touch the ground. 
  • After, press both dumbbells back to the starting position.
  • Repeat as many as necessary.

9. Dumbbell Pullover and Crunch

This workout only requires a dumbbell but can do wonders for your body. It activates your arm core, shoulders, and hamstrings. 

How to do it

  • Lie down on the ground and hold one dumbbell with both hands. 
  • Raise the dumbbell over your chest and lift your legs towards the ceiling until it’s straight.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat.

10. Slow Mountain Climbers

This alternative to push-ups can relieve stress off your knees and enable you to identify any muscle imbalances in your body.

How to do it

  • Do a plank position with your hips in line with your back.
  • Guide your right knee towards your left elbow. 
  • Step your right foot back and direct your left knee to your right elbow. 
  • Alternate 5 to 10 reps.


Push-ups are indeed challenging, and not everyone can do it in proper form. Fortunately, you have these alternatives to help you activate similar muscle groups as this exercise. Out of the ten, the two that you should definitely do are modified push-ups and rotating plank. They have the same range of motion and target the same muscle fibers as a push-up.

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