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How to Do Plyo Push-ups (Form and Benefits)

Plyometric exercises rely on fast, powerful movements. Although many people associate plyometrics training with sports-related athletic performance, almost anyone can improve their general strength and power by including plyometrics in their workouts.

People who train for general fitness, enjoyment, and competitive athletes can benefit from plyometrics.

Many athletes also find that they can work on improving specific aspects of their functionality in their chosen sport through plyometric training. This mostly applies to sports that require explosiveness, which is the ability to quickly generate short bursts of force.

Although there are many types of exercises with plyometrics, we’ll focus on plyo exercises in this article.

Plyometric push-ups are advanced calisthenics moves that build your chest and shoulder muscles as well as your abs and triceps. Plyo pushups have a “jumping” element that makes them more challenging and explosive, and they are not recommended for beginners who have not yet developed good upper body strength.

Benefits of Plyo Push-Ups

when it comes to b rugby playersAnd for soccer players, martial artists, and other elite athletes, strength and power are essential. Landing knockout punches and blocking defenders require quick, powerful bursts of power and speed, which is exactly what plyo pushups provide in loads.

that they Help build speed, strength and endurance in the target muscle.

The rapid switching or extinguishing phase between the concentric and eccentric phases of muscle movement in plyometric push-ups is prime for the athlete to use the SSC, or Efficient Stretch Shortening Cycle.

Plyometric exercises can quickly increase your heart rate.

Plyo push-ups strengthen the shoulders, chest, core, and triceps.

Plyometrics target fast-twitch muscle fibers, which are transmitted to increase speed and strength in pressing movements

Studies show that these types of High-intensity exercise is also effective in improving cardiovascular fitnessBurn calories and reduce body fat.

Combining plyo pushups along with other high-intensity interval training (HIIT) exercises such as squats and jumping burpees can enhance cardio fitness while promoting strength-building.

Muscles worked by Plyo push-ups

Plyo pushups strengthen many upper body muscle groups and muscle fibers, including those listed below.

Rugby players - Image from Shutterstock

  • released

  • shoulders

  • Triceps

  • abdomen

Rugby players - Image from Shutterstock

While fast-twitch muscle training can help build your strength, strong, fast-twitch muscle fibers also play an important role in explosive movements in athletic activities.

Plyometric stages

Each push-up cycle includes three phases.

Eccentric component:

This phase of plyometrics includes the preparation phase when muscles store potential energy while preparing to perform an exercise. People use different terms to describe this stage, including loading, shooting, producing, absorbing, and slowing down. An example of this phase is when a person lowers themselves into a plank position before doing a push-up.

Extinguishing component:

This is the stage when the muscle undergoes dynamic stabilization. Muscles move from overcoming gravity and loading stored energy, ready to release it. During this phase, energy that is not used immediately is lost. Therefore, the shorter the consumption time, the more energy is available and the stronger the release.

concentric component:

The concentric component is the final phase that involves muscle contraction to release stored energy. During a push-up, this phase occurs when you use different muscle groups to lift your body for the short moment it takes to lift your hands off the floor.

How to do a plyo pushup

The plyo pushup is a bodyweight exercise, and you don’t need equipment to perform it. You can follow these steps to do this exercise at your local gym or at your home.

starting position:

Start in a high plank position, or at the top of a standard pushup position. Make sure your torso is in a straight line and your hands, shoulder-width apart or slightly apart, are directly below your shoulders. Engage or tense your core, and proceed as follows.

Here’s how to do push-ups:

Lower your body as if you were doing a regular push-up, until your chest almost touches the floor.

When you press, do it with enough force to lift your body just enough to leave your hands on the floor.

When you fall, land softly on the floor, and immediately switch to the next rep.

Don’t get too zealous if you’re a beginner, but aim for two or three sets of 5 to 10 reps as you progress.

Form-fitting plyo push-ups

Like any other exercise, proper form and technique when performing plyo exercises is crucial. Before exploring the pushup variations, let’s tackle the basics of the pushup to avoid injuries. These points apply to all versions of plyo pushups, whether you do them to lose weight, build strength like bench presses or weightlifting, or because you’re a fitness enthusiast.

Keep your back neutral by engaging your core and flexing your rib cage.

Make sure your body forms one straight line from the back of your head to your toes.

Move your whole body as one unit.

Your hand position can be shoulder-width apart or a little wider if that’s more comfortable. As you progress, you may find a wide grip or a narrow grip that can target different muscles or intensify muscle activation. The wider position targets the pectoral muscles, and the narrow grip will emphasize stress and activate the triceps.

Plyometric push-up variations

Once you’ve mastered the plyo pushup technique, you may want to challenge yourself a bit more. Let’s take a look at the differences, some more difficult than others. However, be sure to maintain proper form, no matter what variety you choose to process.

1. Raise a clap

Pushing your upper body hard enough to lift your hands off the floor can be challenging, but once the basic push-up becomes very easy, you can try clapping your hands once before landing back in the starting position.

Naturally, clap push-ups require more power and strength than regular push-ups because you’ll need more explosive power to lift your upper body high enough to allow your hands to come together. On top of that, you’ll need speed and coordination so that your reflexes are fast enough to add a clap and get your hands back in place to prevent falling flat on your face.

This kind of speed can greatly improve the reflexes of athletes such as Olympic weightlifters.

2. Plyometric pressure regression

Learning to do incline push-ups is a great way to improve your range of motion.

You will need a bench or other stable elevated surface on which you will place your hands, while your feet should be on the floor. The benefits for strength and power will be similar, but the angle and shape of the plyo exercise will allow you to focus more on the muscles of your upper chest.

You can make this more difficult by doing push-ups with your feet on a ladder or a low bench and your hands on the floor. Having sufficient explosive power for this version is essential to avoid injury.

3. Superman push ups

You’ll know that getting to the Superman rank is not for the inexperienced when it comes to push-ups. The Superman Pushup is an advanced pushup that requires you to have enough strength to lift your entire body off the floor. This means that not only your hands, but your feet should also lose contact with the ground. Besides superpowers, you’ll also need shoulder and spine mobility to achieve the Superman-on-the-top pose.

4. Plyo diamond push

If you’re a powerlifter, you’ll know that the deadlift phase of the overhead lifts and push-ups require incredibly strong triceps. The diamond press is done with your hands in a narrower position. This allows you to target your triceps.

This pushup variation is more challenging than the basic plyo exercise because your base will be much narrower, and it targets your triceps, which is a smaller muscle group.

5. Knee press

Start in a plank position to perform the knee pushup, but instead of extending your legs, place your knees on the floor. Although this version is easier to master, it requires exceptional strength to perform the lowering of your upper body because it must be done slowly.

Even though this is the knee version, it helps to prepare your upper body as if you would do the full version. To gain maximum strength, do the eccentric (lowering) phase of the movement very slowly before you explode upward to lift your hands off the floor.

6. Band-assisted plyometric pushup variations

You can perform resistance band push-ups depending on your level of experience. It’s easier to start with the raised or reclined version because you have your hands on a sturdy bench. When you are ready for more difficult push-ups, you can do them without the bench but on the floor.

quarter extensions: Do it at a lower altitude (using a bench) with a resistance band around your chest. Do small plyometric jumps to build and improve tempo, which is most beneficial for training explosive, repetitive movements. This version is great for a dynamic pre-workout to warm up and get your heart pumping.

Complete accessories: These pushups are at a medium altitude, and can help you improve timing and cadence for your descent and transition phase.

Complete accessories: The full-height version is a variation of the resistance band’s main plyo push-up, especially for developing power. With a core engaged, push with determination on every rep. You want to spend the minimum amount of time touching the floor or seat and maximize the explosion.

You may find that you can change the effect on muscles and performance by repositioning the resistance band to anywhere between your chest and hips.

Safety tips

  • As mentioned earlier, plyo pushups are not recommended for beginners. High levels of upper body and shoulder strength and core stability are essential to reduce the risk of injury.
  • Avoid push-ups if they are during the recovery period after an injury.
  • Keep your hips level during push-ups, and your upper thighs in line with your torso.
  • It is essential to keep your core engaged throughout the movement to help protect your back
  • Plyo push-ups are high-intensity exercises, and you should leave your upper-body muscles at least 48 hours to recover before re-plyo push-ups.


Plyo pushup exercises are challenges that can help you build upper body strength, endurance, cardio fitness, and agility. You can get more benefit by combining plyo pushups with other plyometric exercises, such as squat frog jumps, burpees, and squat jumps.

If you are a beginner to plyometrics and intend to do push-ups, it is recommended that you contact a certified personal trainer to show you full range of motion, as well as observe you for the first time to check your technique and form.

As with any type of exercise, Recovery time is critical.

Always prepare your muscles with warm-ups, and do stretches after your workout to allow your muscles to recover and stay flexible. Done correctly, push-ups in their various forms can greatly benefit your overall strength, power, and performance.

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