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Spiderman Push-Ups & Other Exercises Like It

author image Jody Braverman
Jody Braverman is a professional writer and editor based in Atlanta. She studied creative writing at the American University of Paris and received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Maryland. She also received personal trainer certification from NASM and her 200-hour yoga teacher certification from YogaWorks.
Spiderman Push-Ups & Other Exercises Like It
Draw your knees to your elbows, like Spiderman scaling a wall. Photo Credit: indykb/iStock/Getty Images

"Spiderman, spiderman, does whatever a spider can." Singing the Spiderman theme song while doing a regular push-up does not make it a Spiderman push-up. Rather, during a Spiderman push-up, you draw your knees up to your elbows alternately, which makes you look kind of like Spiderman scaling a wall. It's harder than a regular push-up and, in addition to other similar exercises, it is a great addition to a more advanced workout routine.

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How To Do a Spiderman Push-Up

Step 1

Get into push-up position with your shoulders over your wrists and your body in one line from your shoulders to your ankles.

Step 2

Lower down to the bottom of a push-up. As you do so, draw your right knee up toward your right elbow keeping your thigh parallel with the ground.

Step 3

As you press up, straighten your right leg and return your right foot to the floor. Repeat on the other side.

Read more: What Muscles Are Used in Push-up Exercises?

Benefits of Spiderman Push-Ups

The action of drawing your knee up to your elbow during the push-up makes a Spiderman variation more challenging than a regular push-up in several ways:

Added Instability Challenges Stabilizer Muscles

Lifting one foot off the floor in a Spiderman push-up challenges your balance. Having only three points of contact with the floor, instead of four, means the stabilizer muscles in your core need to work harder. Tather than just lifting the foot off the floor and holding it aloft, you're actually moving it quite a distance, which causes further instability.

Increased Challenge for Arms and Chest

Removing one foot from the floor transfers the load that foot was supporting to your other foot, but more so to your upper body. Your chest and arm muscles now have to support more of your body weight, which forces them to work harder and grow stronger.

Increases activation of core muscles

The action of drawing your knee to your elbow is similar to the action of a crunch and garners similar results. Your abs and obliques have to work harder to complete the action; thus, they get stronger.

Promotes greater calorie-burning potential

The more movement involved in an exercise, the more calories you'll burn. When compared to a traditional push-up, a Spiderman push-up requires a greater amount of energy to complete.

Similar Exercises

Knee-to-Chest: This is very similar to a Spiderman push-up, but you draw the knees up one at a time under your torso instead of out to the side. You also do it at the top of the movement instead of at the bottom.

Outside Kick: In this variation, you extend one leg out to the side, hovering it off the ground, at the bottom of each push-up. Keep the leg straight and extend it as far forward as possible.

Do a side plank at the top of each push-up to challenge your obliques and balance.
Do a side plank at the top of each push-up to challenge your obliques and balance. Photo Credit: dolgachov/iStock/Getty Images

Rotational: Do one push-up. At the top of your push-up come in to side plank, with your bottom arm extended and your wrist aligned directly under your shoulder. Stack one foot on top of the other and raise your upper arm so your body resembles the letter T. Rotate back to push-up position, and repeat on the other side.

Alligator: This is very similar to the Spiderman push-up except you're going to move forward (or backward) as you do it. Start in push-up position. Move your left hand forward a few inches and draw your right knee to your right elbow as you lower down into a pushup. Put your right toes down on the floor for support. Press back up, move your right hand forward and draw your left knee to your left elbow. Repeat to continue moving forward. Reverse the movement to move backward.

Read more: 10 Push-Up Variations for a Stronger Body

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