5 Best Weighted Push-ups and Their Benefits

Doing pushups with weights is a great way to bolster upper body muscles and build strength and mass.

You can do various pushups at home with dumbbells, weight plates, a vest, and a backpack.

In this article, I’ve shared the five weighted pushup variations that I perform in the gym, usually on the push day.

They are challenging but help me increase my strength and muscle mass and improve my balance.

They also help me perform better in upper body-weight training, especially where pushing strength requires.

Depending on your fitness level, you can also include them in your muscle-building workout program to challenge your strength and beef up muscle mass.

5 Best Weighted Push-ups Variations

  1. T Push-up
  2. Standard Pushup
  3. Push-up to Row
  4. Triangle Push-up (Using a Vest)
  5. Decline Push Ups (Using a Backpack)

1. T Pushup

LevelEquipment NeededMuscles Worked
AdvancedDumbbellsChest, Arms, Core, Back, Shoulders, and Hips

The dumbbell T pushup is an advanced compound exercise that works on several muscles at once, from the upper to the lower body. It also improves mobility and coordination.

How to do a T Pushup:

  1. Holding one dumbbell in each hand, get into a high plank position.
  2. Put the dumbbells slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and keep your arms straight.
  3. Keep your feet a couple of inches wider than shoulder-width apart.
  4. Brace your core, hips, thigh, and glutes tight, and maintain a flat back. That’s your beginning position.
  5. Perform one pushup, then raise your right arm and your body to the right.
  6. Rotate your body until your arm is straight up toward the ceiling so your body forms a T shape.
  7. Return to the start and repeat on the opposite side.
  8. Do two to three sets of five to eight reps each.

Note: I would suggest you perform this exercise without weight. Once you can perform 10 to 15 reps efficiently, then you can do it with weights.

2. Pushup to Renegade Row

LevelEquipment NeededMuscles Worked
IntermediateDumbbells/KettlebellsChest, Arms, Back, Shoulders, and Core
Weighted Pushup To Renegade Row
Dumbbell Pushup to Renegade Row

The pushup to renegade row strengthens multiple muscles throughout the upper body, including the chest, shoulders, core, and lats, and helps build strength and mass and improve mobility.

Steps to perform a push-up to renegade row with dumbbells:

  1. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, get on all fours.
  2. Kick your legs behind you to get into a high plank position with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Keep your arms straight below your shoulders.
  3. Brace your abdominal muscles, glutes, and thigh, and maintain a straight line from head to heel. That’s the starting position.
  4. Perform a pushup, then raise your right elbow at your side until the dumbbell reaches your rib level.
  5. Pause for a couple of seconds, then lower it down.
  6. Repeat on the left side to complete one rep.

Common Tips:

  1. You can increase the distance between your feet to make this movement easy.
  2. Use lightweight dumbbells to do this movement.
  3. Avoid if you’re not good at push-ups.

3. Standard Weighted Pushup

LevelEquipment NeededMuscles Worked
IntermediateWeight Plates or VestChest, Triceps, Front Delt, and Core.

If you want to test your pushing strength, consider doing the weighted pushups. It primarily reinforces pectoral muscles and helps build a firm and aesthetic torso.

It also helps develop endurance, strength, and mobility and takes your fitness to the next level.

The standard weighted pushup also helps you do better in compound exercises like bench press, overhead press, dips, and clean and press.

Steps to perform a weighted standard pushup:

  • Wear a weighted vest and get into a high plank position with your arms directly underneath your shoulders and keep your feet hip to shoulder-width apart.
  • Keep your body as straight as possible from head to heels.
  • Brace your abdominal muscles, gluteus, and hips. This is your starting position.
  • Slowly bend your elbows and lower your chest toward the ground simultaneously.
  • Pause for a second and then press back to return to the start. That’s one rep.
  • Repeat for the desired number of times.

4. Weighted Triangle Pushup

LevelEquipment NeededMuscles Worked
IntermediateWeighted Plates or VestTriceps, Chest, and Core

Triangle pushup is an excellent compound exercise that helps develop firm triceps and muscular pecs.

It elicits the highest activation in all three heads of the triceps; long, medial, and short heads compared to other exercises such as kickback, dips, overhead triceps extension, and rope pushdown, as shown in the study published by ACE.1ACE Study Identifies Best Triceps Exercises – American Council of Research (ACE)

It may be challenging but will help bolster and tone upper body muscles.

How to do triangle weighted push-ups

  • Wear a weighted vest and get into a high plank position with your hands below your chest, forming a triangle shape. Keep your body in line from top to bottom.
  • Brace your core, hips, and butt. That’s the setup.
  • Do as many pushups as possible.

5. Decline Pushup Using a Back Pack

LevelEquipment NeededMuscles Worked
IntermediateBackpack or VestShoulder, Chest, Arms, and Core.

The decline pushups bolster the anterior deltoid and upper pecs and build a firm upper body.

Steps to do it:

  • Put some stuff in your bag to make it a little heavy. It could be books, weight plates, or concrete blocks.
  • Place it on your back and keep the straps tight on your waist, as it will prevent the backpack from sliding down.
  • Place your feet on a higher object (6 to 8 inches), such as a bench, chair, or bed, and get into a decline straight arm plank position with your arms straight below your shoulders.
  • Brace your abdominal muscles and thighs. That’s your starting position.
  • Lower your chest toward the ground, hold for a second and then press back to the start. This is your one repetition.
  • Keep your spine as neutral as possible during the movement.
  • When the backpack slides toward your head, turn sideways immediately to make it slide off the side.
  • Perform the desired number of sets and reps.

This decline pushup is also a great upper body workout and significantly strengthens the upper chest and shoulders.

Weighted Push-ups Benefits

You can get three benefits if you do pushups with weights. 

1. Increase Strength

Pushups can provide the same strength as the bench press, a study published by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research demonstrated. 2Bench Press and Push-up at Comparable Levels of Muscle Activity Results in Similar Strength Gains – The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research

The different pushup variations work throughout the upper body muscles and increase your pushing strength.

The more weight you put on your back, the more strength you’ll develop.

2. Build Muscle Mass

The pushups bolster the pectorals, shoulders, triceps, arms, and core muscles and help increase muscle mass.

Research has shown that doing pushups using a weight vest can activate and engage similar muscles compared to bench presses.3 Comparison of Kinematics and Muscle Activation between Push-up and Bench Press – Sports Medicine International Open

 A similar finding recommended that performing pushup exercises with a similar load to 40% 1RM bench press is comparably effective for muscle hypertrophy and strength gain over an 8-week training period.4 Low-load bench presses and push-ups induce similar muscle hypertrophy and strength gain – Journal of Exercise Science and Fitness

These are enough indications of how effective the weighted pushups are for building strength and mass.

3. Improves Balance and Coordination

Doing pushups with a weight vest is also effective when it comes to improving overall balance and muscle coordination.

Pushups like T Pushup and renegade row require you to hold the weight in an unstable position. This helps improve mobility and coordination throughout the body.

How much weight should you use for a weighted pushup?

You can use as heavy weight as possible as long as you perform each rep in a controlled manner without risking a muscle injury.

It would be best to start with light weights and increase the load or reps once you gain strength.


Photo of author
Murshid Akram
I'm an online personal trainer, fitness blogger, and fitness enthusiast. I love researching and writing about exercise and nutrition. I share science-based, practical, and logical information that can help you achieve your desired fitness goal.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share to...