How To Do Plyometric Push-Ups

Plyometric Push-Ups (How To, Benefits, Muscles Worked)

Plyometric Push-ups, often called Clapping Push-Ups, are a challenging variation of the classic Push-Up exercise. These Push-Ups incorporate an explosive press off the ground that not only increases the intensity of the exercise but also activates more muscle fibers, leading to greater strength and power gains.

Plyometric Push-ups require significant upper body strength, as well as good core stability and balance.

In this guide, I will teach you how to do Plyometric Push-ups including important coaching tips. I’ll also share the benefits of this movement along with the muscles worked and a few alternatives as well.

How To Do Plyometric Push-Ups

Equipment Needed

  • None

Muscles Worked

  • Chest
  • Triceps
  • Shoulders

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Start in a traditional push-up position with your hands just outside shoulder-width apart and your body in a straight line from your head to your heels.
  • Lower your body towards the ground by bending your elbows and keeping your core engaged.
  • As you push your body back up, explode upwards with enough force to lift your hands off the ground.
  • Land softly on the ground with your hands in the starting position.
  • Repeat the exercise for the desired number of repetitions.

Coaching Points

  • Keep your core engaged throughout Plyo Push-Ups to help you maintain good form and stability.
  • Land with a slight bend in the elbow to absorb the force of your body hitting the ground.
  • Clapping Push-ups are a very popular variation of Plyometric Push-ups where you clap your hands while up in the air. While this can make the exercise more engaging, the clap isn’t necessary.

Benefits of Plyometric Push-Ups

There are countless lower-body exercises that focus on power. Power Clean, Kettlebell Swings and Box Jumps are just a few of the movements that emphasize an explosive hip drive.

However, there are much fewer exercises that focus on upper-body power and this is an often underutilized aspect of many strength programs.

Plyometric Push-Ups are an excellent option to help fill this void in many programs.

They’re extremely effective at developing upper-body pressing power and they’re extremely versatile, requiring zero equipment.

There are also multiple variations of Plyometric Push-Ups to keep the movement interesting like adding a clap while in the air or pushing yourself off the ground and catching yourself on an elevated box or weight plate.

Plyometric Push-Up Alternatives

Need an alternative for Plyo Push-Ups? Here are a couple of exercises that you may be able to do in their place.

Medicine Ball Drop Throws

Medicine Ball Drop Throws involve laying on your back and having a partner drop a medicine ball down to you. The object of the exercise is to catch the ball and then quickly throw it back up into the air to your partner.

Like Plyometric Push-Ups, this is another horizontal pressing power movement. If you’re not quite ready for Plyo Push-Ups, Drop Throws can be a great alternative.

Dumbbell Bench Press

Dumbbell Bench Press Technique

I don’t recommend throwing dumbbells into the air (seriously… don’t do that) but Dumbbell Bench Press can still be a good alternative to develop power.

Choose a weight that is a bit lighter than you would normally do and focus on driving the dumbbells up as explosively as possible for each rep.

More Links and Info

Need a training program? The Horton Barbell Shop contains a wide variety of programs from Sports Performance Programs to Beach Ready Programs. So, whether you’re looking to improve in your sport, just want to look good at the beach or anything in between – we have a program for you!

If you’d like to check out more upper body exercises, then head over to the Upper Body Lifts section of our Exercise Library. There you’ll find dozens of movements, all with complete detailed instructions.

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