The push up is one of those very traditional exercises that offers lots of benefits and gives you plenty of room for variation. You don’t have to do the same kind of push ups everyone else does.
If you are bored by the basics or you just want to crank up your workout to the next level, then you may want to give the staggered hands push up a try.
What Are Staggered Hands Push Ups?
This is essentially an off-kilter version of the regular push up. Not much changes other than the position of your hands, but the stress it puts on you and the extra effort you are required to exert will make it obvious that this is no regular push up.
You will either love the extra workout you get and the additional benefits it provides or you will hate that you are taking an exercise that is already difficult for most people and ramping up the challenge.
You can do this push up variation anywhere that you have space to do a regular push up. It requires no additional room or any equipment, so it can be added to your workout routine easily. The only problem is pulling it off.
How to Do a Staggered Hand Push Up
We are going to walk you through the process of doing this type of push up, and even though it is simple, the importance of getting your form right and not injuring yourself is still worth mentioning.
- Start out by resting on your knees on the floor. Then, place your hands palm down on the floor. From there, you will be supporting yourself on your knees and your hands.
- Then, move to the traditional push up starting position, with your weight resting solely on the palms of your hands and your toes. Your hands should be underneath your shoulders, and your feet should be positioned straight back from your upper body. You should keep your body in a straight line as you do this.
- This is the regular starting position for traditional push ups, and you will need to shift slightly to get into the proper form for the staggered hands push up.
- Move one of your hands slightly lower, toward your ribs. It only needs to move a few inches from where it was. It should be enough change in position to put some extra strain on your arms.
- Now you are in position. It took a while to get there, but it is important that you transition into the starting position slowly and carefully and that you get your form just right.
- From this position, slowly and gradually straighten your arms so that your elbows are no longer bent. This action should push you up from the ground a few inches.
You should exhale as you do that motion and then hold the upraised position for a moment. Then, slowly return to the starting position, inhaling as you do so.
Staggered Hand Push Up Benefits
Why should you add these push ups to your routine? Will you get any different benefits doing this exercise compared to doing regular push ups? Let’s talk about it.
Any kind of push ups you do will work the arms, shoulders, chest, abdominals, back, and legs. The push up is a complex exercise because of how much of the body it ropes in to help out. The biggest benefit is likely to the arms, as this bodyweight exercise forces you to hold up almost your entire body weight on your arms. They are doing the majority of the work.
This is also a great way to improve chest power, and if you are hoping to develop strong pectorals, then this exercise is a simple addition to any routine.
It works the abdominal (or stomach muscles) too, helping to develop strong, powerful looking abs. If you are having trouble with sit ups and other exercises that really tax the abs, then the push up and any variation is a good exercise to use to strengthen the key muscles used for ab exercises.
Your lower body gets some workout as well, since you will be supporting yourself partially with your legs and tensing them as you hold yourself in place.
How staggered hands push ups differ from regular push ups in their benefits is that they require mere effort from you. So, you can get a better workout with this exercise. Now, if you have a lot of trouble doing staggered hands push ups, you might not be able to do the exercise for long, so your cost benefit might not be what you are hoping for at first. You may have trouble doing as many of them as you would regular push ups, so you might not make as much progress as you would by simply doing normal push ups.
This kind of push up does work some muscles differently from the traditional push up, though. It uses the rotator cuff a lot more than regular push ups do. This is a collection of muscles in the shoulder, and it strengthens them at a faster rate than they would be strengthened doing regular push ups.
How to Do Staggered Hands Push Ups for Beginners
You can do some variations of this that will help you to add more challenge to the exercise or diminish the challenge. If you want to try staggered hands push ups but don’t think you can pull off the full version in all its challenge, then you can try a knee variation.
In order to do this, just get down on your knees and place your palms onto the floor. Then, stagger your hands so that they are not at quite the same level and do your push up from there. It’s certainly not as tough as the real deal, but it can help build some of the muscles needed to pull off the proper version.
When you do any version of the staggered hands push up for the first time, be sure to take it slow and try to get your form just right.
You can hurt yourself or miss out on some of the benefits if you are not careful. Pay attention to your form and check a video on how to do it if you are not sure if your form is just right. Then, push yourself up slowly and steadily and return back to the starting position in a steady manner as well.
Don’t try to do any jerky movements or achieve a high speed when you do the exercise. By taking things slowly, you can prevent injury and make sure that your back is kept straight and your muscles are not overly strained as you exercise.
My name is Ellis Francis and I have been a personal fitness trainer, sports nutritionalist and health and fitness advisor for over 25 years. I am the lead health and fitness advisor at https://awellnessbody.com.