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The Power Push-up Workout

author image Nick Ng
Nick Ng has been writing fitness articles since 2003, focusing on injury prevention and exercise strategies. He has covered health for "MiaBella" magazine. Ng received his Bachelor of Arts in communications from San Diego State University in 2001 and has been a certified fitness coach with the National Academy of Sports Medicine since 2002.
The Power Push-up Workout
The Power Push-up Workout Photo Credit Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

The power push-up is lifting both hands off the ground when you push your body away from the ground from a regular push-up. This advance exercise will burn more calories and develop upper-body power and coordination. You can combine this workout with other exercises, such as pulling, squatting and rotation, to train different movement patterns.


Power push-ups increase your explosive strength in your pushing muscles and your stabilization in your spine, abs, hips and legs. You will also increase your reflexes and coordination, as you do this exercise as fast as you can within a certain time frame. According to Dr. Jason Karp, who is the founder coach of REVO2LT Running Team in San Diego, California, push-ups of any kind will also increase abdominal strength better than traditional bench press or abdominal exercise because all the muscles work to keep your body in alignment.


There are three types of power push-ups you can do. The shoulder tap push-up is for beginners to develop coordination, balance and rhythm on both sides of their body. After you push your body away from the ground, lift your right hand to tap your left shoulder. Put your arm back down and do a push-up. Then lift your left hand to tap your right shoulder. Do this exercise as fast as you can for 16 to 20 reps.

The standard power push-up is where you lift your hands off the ground when you push yourself off the ground, and clap both hands together in mid-air in front of your chest. Immediately place your hands back on the ground, and do another power push-up.

The medicine ball power push-up is where you place both hands on a medicine ball with your body in a push-up position. Place your left hand about six inches away to the left of the ball, and do a push-up. Immediately put your left hand back on the ball and your right hand six inches to the right of the ball. Do another push-up, and repeat the pattern as fast as you can.

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Before you start doing any power push-ups, be proficient with the regular push-ups where you can maintain proper spine and hip alignment while doing the exercise. Once you are able to maintain proper posture, build up your muscular endurance by doing three to four sets of push-ups between 20 to 30 seconds with 30 seconds of rest between sets.


Doing power push-ups improperly can cause back and shoulder pain, sprained or strained elbows, wrists and fingers, and tight chest muscles. Make sure that you have full range of motion in your shoulders and spine by stretching after each workout.

Expert Insight

Gray Cook, founder of Functional Movement Systems in Danville, Virginia, suggests that you combine power push-ups with pulling exercises, such as pull-ups or dumbbell rows. When you do one pushing exercise, your pulling muscles rests. This allows you to develop muscular strength and endurance in less time with higher stamina. For example, do a shoulder tap power push-up with a pull-up together, or you can do a standard power push-up with a standing two-arm dumbbell row.

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