Jeff Cavaliere C.S.C.S. of Athlean-X is not letting the quarantine prevent him from advocating for efficient, effective workouts. He’s shared 29 of his home hacks to make your house a home gym and his favorite full body no-equipment workout—while warning his viewers about the most common home workout mistakes you can make for good measure.
But you’re not always going to have the energy to make your own equipment at home, or even to do more than just one type of movement. For everyone looking for the simplest way to work their whole body, Cavaliere has honed in on one basic movement: the pushup. He offers 18 variations that will help to make sure that you’re hitting every muscle in your body, no equipment necessary.
“I promise you, by the end of this video, you’ll pick up two or three variations you’ve never thought of before that you’re going to want to start doing,” Cavaliere promises. Before you get going, make sure you have the standard variation of the move perfected. Check out this guide to get it right.
Variation 1: Squeeze-Ups
This variation requires you to squeeze your body off the ground, not just push it off.
“If you apply that inward force on the ground towards each other, you’ll get that isometric contraction of the chest,” Cavaliere says.
Variation 2: Rotating Pushup
This variation activates the pecs.
“This gives us relative abduction. In other words, I’m not taking my arm across my body, but I can turn my body in space to create that abduction,” he says.
Variation 3: Pancake Pushup
This move will maximize the use of your triceps.
“Essentially what you’re trying to do is a tricep pushdown with a straight bar, except you don’t have a tricep pushdown machine or a straight bar,” Cavaliere advises. “All I’m trying to do is extend through the elbows.”
Variation 4: Cobra Pushup
This version hits the long head of the tricep.
“As you start with elbows hiked to the side and you come up and shift your chest forward, you can see the long head get into a complete contraction.”
Variation 5: Modified Planche Pushup
This will put the focus on developing your shoulders.
“We’re getting our arms and hand position way back, as far back without tilting forward,” he says. “What that does is it shifts that load away from the chest, more to that front delt.”
Variation 6: Pushaway Pushup
This will also challenge your shoulders.
“Instead of pushing straight up and down with our chest doing most of the work, we can make our shoulders do more of the work by pushing away,” he says.
Variation 7: Pike Pushup
We’re not done with the shoulders yet. This takes the Pushaway Pushup to another level.
“With a pike you’re getting more of a vertical position,” he says.
Variation 8: Handstand Pushup
Shoulder crushing continues—this move takes the Pike Pushup one step further.
“You go completely vertical against the force of gravity, and would be like doing a standard overhead press with a barbell,” he says.
Variation 9: Bodyweight Side Lateral Raise Pushup
This move hits the middle delt, and simulates the action of a side lateral raise.
“This is relative abduction at the shoulder,” says Cavaliere.
Variation 10: Sliding Pulldown Pushup
Now, Cavaliere moves into moves that will target your back and lats.
Laying face down on a floor that has a slick surface for you to slide on, pull your body across the floor by abducting your elbows tight and into your sides. At the top of the pull, perform a pushup and then smoothly slide your body back out until you get a great stretch on your lats.
Variation 11: Thumbs Up Pushup
“What you’re doing here is you’re trying to drive your fists with your thumbs up, and your forearms down into the ground,” Cavaliere says. “They’re in this ‘W’ position to try to get into a more externally rotated position to protect your shoulder, driving through protraction of the shoulder blades.”
Variation 12: Back Widow Pushup
This is a flipped-over version of the pushup (face-up) that hits the upper back.
“The upper back muscles including the rhomboids, upper traps and posterior deltoid are hit hard by this amazing posterior chain pushup version,” he says.
Variation 13: Glute Ham Raise Pushup
Next, Cavaliere offers variations to hit more of your legs.
“Here you are going to eccentrically contract the glutes and hamstrings to lower yourself to the ground and utilize the push to get yourself back up to the halfway point, at which point your glutes and hams can contract to power you back to the top,” he says.
Variation 14: Ham Curl Pushup
“You anchor your feet, and as we use our hands to push up off the ground, we’re focusing on allowing our hamstrings to dig backwards into the ground to assist us in getting our body up,” Cavaliere says. “But it’s not just hitting the hamstrings. As I get up to the top, you can see all the posterior muscles are working.”
Variation 15: Rolling Squat Pushup
This move hits the front of your legs, specifically your quads.
“This serves more as a good combination movement, allowing us to engage those muscles,” according to Cavaliere.
Variation 16: TKE Pushup
“You anchor your feet on something higher. As I’m pushing out of this pushup, I’m allowing the legs to drive me, forcing my knees to extend, and we know that knee extension causes quad contraction,” Cavaliere instructs.
Variation 17: Cliffhanger Pushup
Finally, Cavaliere shows off some moves that will more directly target your abs. Remember, for many of these, you should be bracing your core to maintain proper form from the start.
“You extend your hands out in front of us, with our fingers down into the ground. Once our hands pass the level of our heads, we feel our entire front side core musculature on fire,” he says.
Variation 18: Black Widow Knee Slide Pushups
“We perform our pushup, and as we come up, we get this bottom-up rotation of the knee heading towards the opposite elbow,” Cavaliere says. “In order to get that core activated even more, we have to drive and slide that knee up as high as we can.”