Push-up Strength Training: A Guide to Using the Hip Push-up for More Muscular Density and Definition

Push-up strength training? How can the hip push-up help with in your training? In order to train for strength, we need to achieve great muscular tension. In other words the muscles need to contract very hard. The traditional pushup can be used for this purpose, but once you pass a couple months of training, pushups become too easy.

Here is the video on how to use the hip push-up for strength training. Remember to stay tight, lean forward as far as you can, then pick a spot on the ground and watch it to make sure you only go up and down.

So to use them for strength training you need to do them to failure – the last few reps produce enough tension. But there is an easier way. A modified push up, such as the hip pushup which will be described in this article, is substantially harder and can be used for strength training even by more experienced athletes.

The cool thing is that the hip push up can be done anywhere, and will strengthen your wrists and fists. Last but not least – it is great way to work towards a planche push-up, where you support a hundred percent of your bodyweight.

Athletes such as gymnasts and b-boys like the guy above have a ridiculous strength to body weight ratio. Their great relative strength allows them to perform amazing moves. The hip push-up will help you increase your upper body relative strength.

So What Exactly Is the Hip Push-up

This is simply a push-up variation done on your fist, in which you lean forward as far as you can. This greatly overloads the movement so you are able to use the push-up as a strength training and muscle building tool and thus get bigger and more defined muscles.

Here’s how to do the hip push-up effectively for maximum strength training and muscular density benefits. Once you get past 12 reps, those benefits subside. You can still exploit the movement though – by going to complete muscular failure. However, if you can do under 6 reps, don’t go to failure.

Hip Push-up Technique

  • Stay rigid. The first thing in any gymnastic, strength or calisthenics move is muscular control. You want to keep your body tight. It is always easier to control it this way.
  • Stay on your fists. Ideally you want to do the hip pushup on your fists. Another option is to use push-ups stands. Doing these pushups on your palms is not really an option as you are likely to hyper extend your wrists and hurt them.
  • Lean forward. The next step, after getting into a push-up position on your fists is to lean forward as far as you can. This shifts a much larger percentage of your bodyweight to your arms and you actually will be able to do 1-10 of these instead of 30-50+.
  • Pick a spot. Simply pick a spot on the ground after you have leaned forward as far as you can. Now look at this spot and go straight up and down. By looking at this spot you will be able to self-spot yourself so that you don’t cheat on the movement.
  • Stay in the hollow position. The gymnastic hollow position in which you tighten your but and abs, is once again key as in most bodyweight exercises.

Action Plan

  • Volume is your friend. High volume of training brings success with such strength/skill moves.
  • Don’t fail. With low reps stay away from forced reps. They don’t help; but only rob you of energy.
  • Track daily or weekly volume. Come up with some way to measure your progress and make sure you do more reps either daily or weekly
  • Three weeks on, one off. Train hard for 3-4 weeks, than back off. I learned this little trick from Vince Gironda – it helps bust plateaus and avoid injuries.
  • At least one day par week off. You can train every day, or just 3 times per week. But make sure to rest at least one day per week. Your motivation will stay up and your body will thank you.
  • Listen to your body. Back off on the training if you need.

Speaking of Strength Training…

Here is one of my favorite quotes from the book by Zatsiorsky and Kraeme, Science and Practice of Strength Training. This is the best explanation I know on how to achieve maximum muscular tension using various methods:

There are three ways to achieve maximal muscular tension:

  • Lifting a maximum load (exercising against maximal resistance) – that is, the maximal effort method
  • Lifting a nonmaximal load to failure; during the final repetitions the muscles develop the maximum force possible in a fatigued state – that is, the repeated effort method
  • Lifting (throwing) a nonmaximal load with the highest attainable speed – that is, the dynamic effort method

Your Daily Routine

I like to train the hip push-up with a ladder. I do one rep, rest some time, do two reps, rest, etc… Once I reach the highest number of reps I cand o with good form, I start from one again. This kind of training is inspired by Pavel Tsatsouline’s article on pullup ladders in the in the December, 2000 issue of Milo magazine. Here are a few articles that talk about ladders:

22 thoughts on “Push-up Strength Training: A Guide to Using the Hip Push-up for More Muscular Density and Definition”

  1. Wow.. this one looks too tough … firstly I hate doing push ups on my knuckles … I did heaps when I was doing martial arts and every one of them hurt… Putting that much load in the shoulder looks brutal… would they still be effective if i used palms?


  2. Raymond, I do them on a carpet in my bedroom and it’s ok. But – your knuckles will toughen up – no way around it. The shoulders are fine, but if you want to use palms, you are going to have to point the fingers back – i.e. towards your feet. Another option is to use push up stands.


  3. Yavor,
    Great variation to the standard pushup. Definitely really tough. I tried a few and I’m trying to pin down why they’re so much harder than regular pushups. Do they work the triceps and front shoulders a little more? Or is it just that you’re supporting more of your weight than the standard pushup as you mentioned? Hard for me to figure out because I’m a little sore from my earlier workout.

  4. Yavor, Man you’re like the push-up guru….nice post. You have an awesome website. I’ve been trying to improve on my push-ups and have been using the tips outlined in your last post. Thanks for the info.

  5. Yavor,
    You are the guru of obscure exercises! I really love your blog because I always learn something completely different that I never even heard of before. The video really helps explain things also. Thanks, my friend!

  6. Yavor,

    This is yet another awesome post! I’m really into gymnastic type conditioning and as Kelly said, you always seem come up with this kind of obscure stuff, I love it! Great descriptions and instructional video. I’m gonna add these into my training for sure.

  7. Man oh man, these are awesome and no one can top your form! Not sure if you’re still aiming for 100 pushups – I myself have kind of fallen outta the race :/

  8. Craig, I sorta injured myself from overuse training for one of the upcoming videos lol. So pushups are gonna be on hold for a while.

  9. Gil, it is fine, but you’ll find it isn’t very comfortable. But for a short period it’s ok.

  10. I love this pushup! I have always loved bodyweight workouts, and do many variations of the pushup and I love this one, because you can feel that burn right after doing a all out set! Great article too, explaining everything there is around this exercise, love it! Yavor, your website is looking really good bro.

  11. Yavor, for anyone wanting to challenge their own abilities, this push will do it. I tried it and have to say, this is one I’ll have to practice because it’s pretty difficult.


  12. Alykhan,

    Yeah man – add some variety in your workouts with those bad boys!


    they just increase the % of your bodyweight that you train with. Thanks for stopping by.


    My pleasure. You are off to a great start with the site!


    You gonna love the hip pushup man!


    Lol! Now that would be badass!


    yeah – I like to dig up stuff that might be useful. Then I try it and if it’s any good I share it here 🙂


    Glad you like them!


    This year I too got into the gymnastic stuff. I am training outside as much as possible until late autumn!


    They look wimpy – especially when you see me do 3-5 reps. But they are real hard!


    Thanks man! Glad you find the site useful. As for the hip pushup – it gets you sore in places you wouldn’t believe!


    yup – it’s pretty hard. But – if you do lots of reps each day, you will quickly get good at it.


    here in Bulgaria I haven’t seen weighted vests (having them delivered from the US would be super expensive due to the weight). That being said – I will try to find a hardware store to by me some chains instead. I love what you are doing with your site and especially with your vids! I swear in almost every one of the vids I manage to find an obscure move for my arsenal.

    Great comments guys,


  13. You guys should do a article on how to bench press more. I can only do 205 2 reps max and I want to bench 315 within a year or so if it is possible so please do a article on bench.

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