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How To Do a Plyo Push-Up

Updated: Dec 17, 2020

A man in the plank position ready to perform a plyometric push-up

Why should plyo push-ups be part of your workout routine? Because they give power to your upper body. In the fitness sense, power means how quickly you can apply force; the more powerful your upper body is, the faster that you can pull or push an object. Plyo push-ups are a variation of the regular push-up that helps you build strength and muscle mass through explosive power.

Why are push-ups an essential exercise? Come find out about the power of micro workouts!

What Is a Plyo Push-Up?

Plyometric, or plyo, push-ups are an advanced variation of the regular push-up designed to be more challenging. They incorporate a jumping element that makes the exercise more explosive and aids in burning fat and building muscle.

Plyo push-ups are favored by many athletes to improve their performance by building endurance, speed, and strength. Plyometric push-ups are not suited for beginners or those who are just starting out with a training program; they are better for people who have already developed upper-body strength.

Let’s look at the benefits of plyo push-ups, how to perform them and their variations, and some safety tips.

Related: Diamond Push-Ups: All You Need To Know

Benefits of Plyo Push-Up

Plyo push-ups are a kind of plyometric exercise that focuses on making you exert your muscles to their maximum potential over a short amount of time. Plyometric exercises are an excellent way to build speed, strength, and endurance in the targeted muscle groups.

Plyo push-ups, and other plyometric exercises, raise your heart rate quickly; these high-intensity workouts are extremely effective at burning calories, getting rid of body fat, and improving your overall cardiovascular fitness.

Plyo push-ups and other high-intensity interval training exercises can be added to your workout routine to boost your cardio fitness while building muscle strength.

Plyometric push-ups strengthen many muscle groups in your upper body, including your chest, shoulders, triceps, and abdominal muscles.

Plyo push-ups also help activate the fast-twitch muscle fibers in your shoulders, chest, and triceps, allowing you to build muscle mass and strength in those areas more easily. Those fast-twitch muscle fibers will enable you to perform explosive moves better, whether during your workout or an athletic performance.

Muscles Worked By Plyo Push-Up

The main muscles that get worked during a plyometric push-up are:

  • Pecs: this is the muscle that is primarily worked during a plyo push-up. Pecs have three primary functions: raising your upper arms, turning them inwards, and bringing them towards your body’s midline.

  • Deltoids: these muscles give your shoulders their size, strength, power, and definition. Deltoids work together with the rotator cuffs that stabilize your shoulder joints and give you more mobility.

  • Triceps: these muscles are located on the back of your upper arms and are primarily responsible for giving you the ability to extend your elbows.

Related: What Muscles Do Push-Ups Work?

Performing a Plyo Push-Up

A man in the high plank position, standard form for beginning a plyo pushup

Since plyometric exercises are such high-intensity workouts, we suggest adding them into your routine about twice a week and have at least 48 hours between sessions. There is no special equipment required to perform a plyo push-up; just follow these five simple steps:

  1. Start out in a high plank position, as you would for a regular push-up, with your core tightened, torso straight, and your palms lined up underneath your shoulders.

  2. Lower your body until your chest is nearly touching the floor as if you’re doing a standard push-up.

  3. When you begin to push your body back up, do it with enough force that your hands leave the ground. Optionally, for an extra challenge, clap your hands together while you’re on the way back up.

  4. Land lightly back on the ground and immediately begin your next rep.

Anywhere from five to ten reps in two or three sets is a good place to start. You can perform more or fewer reps, depending on your experience and fitness level.

Plyo Push-Up Variations

Like most exercises, you can make slight variations to make them either more challenging or more comfortable to perform, and plyo push-ups are no exception.

Similarly to a regular push-up, plyometric ones can be made easier to perform by doing them on your knees. When doing plyo push-ups this way, you’ll want to be on a soft surface or place a yoga mat underneath your knees. Here are the steps for this variation:

  1. Begin on your knees in a plank position and kneel forward slightly to be in the high plank position. Make sure that your palms are lined up directly under your shoulders.

  2. Bending your arms, lower yourself into the push-up.

  3. Push back up immediately and with an explosive force that takes your hand off of the floor.

  4. Softly land into the starting position and move on to your next rep immediately.

If you’re experienced and comfortable performing regular plyo push-ups, you can incorporate slight variations that make them more challenging. We recommend that you only try these variations if you’re extremely confident with your upper-body strength. To add more difficulty to a plyometric push-up, you can:

  • Add an additional clap once it becomes easy to do one.

  • Perform a decline plyometric push-up by elevating your feet for a more demanding and more vigorous workout. It only takes a slight elevation to make a big difference.

  • For people with an advanced level of fitness, you can try to clap your hands behind your body rather than in the front.

Safety Tips

Plyo push-ups are a more advanced plyometric exercise and should not be performed by beginners. It takes a good amount of strength in your upper body, core, and shoulders to perform them correctly and safely; you can easily injure yourself while doing plyo push-ups if you don’t have the strength and fitness level to do them correctly. When performing a plyo push-up, make sure that:

  • Your core is tightened and engaged throughout the exercise to keep your back protected.

  • Your upper thighs stay aligned with your torso.

  • Your hips stay at the same level throughout the entire exercise.

If you are recovering from any injury, hold off on plyometric exercises until you are fully recovered. Also, be sure to allow your muscles 48 hours to recover between your plyo push-up workouts.

A man at the end of a push-up, ready to start the next rep

Related: Why Your Wrists Hurt After Doing Push-Ups

Plyo push-ups are challenging but can help you improve your cardio fitness and build strength and endurance. The most important thing to remember when adding a new exercise to your routine is to focus on maintaining the proper form to avoid injuring your body and take it slow at first; you can always add additional reps once you get more comfortable!

Do you want to learn more about push-ups and their variations? Learn with PushApp!