Spiderman Push-Up Alternatives

5 Best Spiderman Push-up Alternatives For Chest & Core

Spiderman Push-ups are a challenging variation of the traditional Push-Up that require strength, stability, and coordination. The combination of upper-body and core work in one exercise makes it extremely effective and efficient.

However, not everyone can perform Spiderman Push-ups due to limitations such as a shoulder injury or a lack of upper body strength or core stability.

In this article, I’ll give you some Spiderman Push-up alternatives that can help you achieve similar benefits but with different variations in how they’re performed.

These alternatives are designed to target the same muscle groups as Spiderman pushups, including the chest, shoulders, triceps, and core, while also providing modifications for different strength levels and limitations.

Traditional Push-Ups

Push-Up Technique

This is probably the most obvious answer, but it doesn’t make sense to start with any other exercise.

If you’re not quite able to pull off Spiderman Push-ups (yet!) – don’t worry – stick with traditional Push-ups and continue to build your strength and you’ll be doing Spiderman Push-ups before you know it.

Step-by-Step Instruction

  • Lie face down on the floor.
  • Pull your toes in so that you’re on the tip of your shoes.
  • Eyes should be focused straight down or slightly up.
  • Pull your hands close to about the nipple line of the chest and bring them out about 2-3 inches away.
  • Take a deep breath, engage the core and brace.
  • Push yourself up in one unit. There should be no sagging of the waist. The entire body from head to toe should move up and then back down in unison.
  • Feel your scapula upwardly rotate and make sure the antagonist muscles (Back and biceps) are fully engaging.
  • Lock out your push-up and pause.
  • Slowly lower yourself back down and get ready for the next repetition from just above the ground. Do not fully relax at the bottom of the push-up unless your program specifies.

Coaching Points

Take your time and master the push-up. The benefits of doing sound push-ups will pay dividends for your shoulder health and the potential to maximize your upper body strength.

Keep the elbows at a 45-degree angle. For maximal chest, shoulder, and rotator cuff engagement, do not let the elbows flare out away from the middle. Also, do not let the elbow hug right next to the torso.

Mountain Climbers

Mountain Climbers (1)

This is another good alternative is you find Spiderman Push-ups a little too challenging.

Mountain Climbers will improve your lower abdominal core strength very similarly to how a Spiderman Push-up does.

Also, they can be great cardiovascular work as part of a circuit or warm-up.

Finally, I would recommend pairing Mountain Climbers with traditional Push-ups as a complete replacement for Spiderman Push-ups.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Begin in a push-up position – hands under shoulders, core engaged, body in a straight line
  • Now raise one knee toward the chest and place the ball of the foot on the ground – from this position you’re ready to begin performing reps.
  • Drive one leg up and place the foot right next to where the opposite foot just left.
  • Simultaneously extend the ‘up foot’ back to the original starting position.
  • Continue alternating back and forth until all reps are completed. (count moving left and right legs up as one rep)

Coaching Points

There are a few common mistakes that athletes make when doing Mountain Climbers – especially if they are fatigued.

  • Keep hips down throughout the movement. Don’t allow the hips to start to raise as the legs get tired.
  • Keep driving the knees straight up toward the chest. Tired athletes will tend to start turning their feet and knees out to the side.
  • Finally, try to maintain the same distance of each rep. Range of motion is usually the first thing to go when fatigue sets in.

Single Arm Dumbbell Bench Press

Single Arm Dumbbell Bench

If you want a substitution that isn’t a bodyweight exercise, then my first suggestion would be Single Arm Dumbbell Bench Press.

Every Bench Press variation is going to work the chest, shoulders and triceps just like a Push-Up will.

What makes the Single Dumbbell Bench unique is that by pressing one arm at a time the core has to become heavily involved to keep yourself from literally flipping off the bench.

Step-by-Step Instruction

  • Grab your dumbbell, sit on the edge of the bench, and sit the dumbbell on your thigh vertically.
  • Take a deep breath, lie flat on your back on the bench, and get your dumbbell in position ready to press.
  • Lay your free hand on your stomach. Placing your hand on your hip (as shown in the featured image above) will help balance you more is a more beginner-friendly hand placement.
  • Keep your feet flat on the floor.
  • Keep your butt on the bench.
  • Pull your shoulder blades together and keep the back of your head on the bench. You will slightly arch your back. Keep your core tight and keep the shoulder blades pulled back tight.
  • The dumbbells should be slightly angled at roughly a 45-degree angle to the torso. (representative of the path you are descending with your elbows).
  • Press the dumbbell up.
  • Control the dumbbell down during the eccentric movement and draw the dumbbell in, keeping the elbow at that 45-degree angle from the torso.
  • The dumbbell will make contact with your torso The dumbbell will make contact with your torso in line with the bottom of the sternum.
  • Once contact is made, drive the dumbbell back up.

Coaching Points

If you’re familiar with Dumbbell Bench Press but are new to this single arm variation, you’ll probably be pretty surprised by just how much you need to brace your core to keep from literally rotating off the bench.

For this reason, start light and then work your way up in weight.

Side Plank with Leg Lift

Side Plank with Leg Raise

The Side Plank with Leg Lift is another good option that will challenge both shoulder stability and core strength (especially targeting the obliques).

You may not get the same chest development with this exercise, but it heavily emphasizes all the other areas that a Spiderman Push-up works on.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Lay on your side, one elbow down and feet, hips and shoulders stacked vertically above one another.
  • The opposite hand (non-support arm) can be placed on the hip or held up in the air.
  • From this position, raise the top leg in the stack until it is roughly parallel to the floor.
  • This exercise can either be done for time (holding the position for a set time like regular Lateral Planks), or for reps (lifting the leg up and down)

Coaching Points

The biggest mistake I see with athletes with Lateral Plank plus Leg Raise is allowing the top shoulder to hunch forward.

Both shoulders (along with hips and feet) should be stacked directly above each other. If you allow yourself to twist forward toward the ground lifting the leg will be extremely difficult to impossible.

The other aspect of Lateral Planks to be mindful of is keeping the hips elevated and the body in a straight line.

When fatigue starts to set in, the first thing that will happen is the hips will being to sag down toward the floor. Try to keep those hips high and fight through until the end.

Dumbbell Z Press

The final alternative I’m going to give you for Spiderman Push-ups is the Dumbbell Z Press.

While it may look nothing like a Spiderman Push-up, the Z Press combines two things that are at the core of a Spiderman Push-up – a pressing movement that also challenges the core.

The core has to work extremely hard to maintain the torso in an upright position while pressing overhead.

In my mind, this makes the Dumbbell Z Press an excellent choice to use as a replacement exercise.

How To

  • Sit on the floor with legs straight out in front.
  • Brace the core and raise dumbbells to shoulder level (or have a partner hand them to you).
  • Make sure your posture is good and your core is tight before trying to press.
  • Press the dumbbells to full extension overhead.
  • Lower the dumbbells back down to the shoulders and repeat until all reps are completed.

Coaching Points

The Dumbbell Z Press demands hamstring flexibility and core stability to maintain the body position while pressing. Deficits in either of these areas will greatly hinder your ability to be able to do Z Presses.

Make sure to maintain a vertical torso throughout the movement so that you’re pressing the dumbbells directly over the ears.

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So, whether you need a program to improve your performance in your sport or you just want to look good at the beach, there is a program designed just for you.

Final Thoughts

Spiderman Push-ups are an awesome exercise that comes with a variety of benefits.

The combination of upper body and core strength that Spiderman Push-ups provide is what makes them one of my favorite upper-body exercises for golfers.

However, if you found yourself needing an alternative for Spiderman Push-ups, then I hope one of the exercises above fits perfectly for what you were looking for.

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