Weighted Push Ups: Variations, How-to & Benefits

Have you ever tried to do weighted push ups? Do you know how many pushup variations you can do with weights? Well, I’m going to share all the weighted push-ups variations that I do with help of weight plates, dumbbells, and the backpack, in this article.

Doing push ups with weights increases strength, especially in the upper body. Chest, arms, core, shoulders, and back all your upper body muscles work during the weighted pushup.

When you’ll be able to do bodyweight thirty to forty bodyweight pushups in one set, then you can also do 10 to 15 pushups by putting a weight plate on your back.

I tried myself one-week weighted push ups challenge last month. I did 100 pushups (different variations) using weight.

Pushups include regular pushups with a weight plate on my back, dumbbell T pushup, triangle weighted push-up, dumbbell push-up to renegade row, and decline backpack pushup.

First of all, I want to tell you I loved doing them all. I felt each weighted push ups variation was challenging and effective.

They helped me increased my strength, muscle mass and improved my balance. They also helped me perform better in upper body-weight training and deadlift.

So let’s find out how many pushups you can do with weights, what muscles worked, and how to do them with step-by-step instructions.

Related: 6 Dumbbell Push-ups and Their Benefits

List of Weighted Push-ups with How-to Instructions

  1. Dumbbell T Push-up
  2. Regular Weighted Pushup
  3. Dumbbell Push-up to Row
  4. Triangle Weighted Push-up
  5. Decline Weight Push Up Using Back Pack

1. Dumbbell T Pushup

The dumbbell T pushup is an advanced compound exercise that works on the entire upper body at the same time.

It strengthen and tone upper body muscles and improve balance.

Muscle Worked: Chest, Arms, Core, Back, Shoulders and Hips

How to Dumbbell T Push Up

  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. Keep your back as flat as possible. That’s your beginning position.
  5. Bend your elbows and lower your chest toward the ground (as down as you can go). And then extend your elbows until your arms are fully straight.
  6. Now, keeping your left hand on the ground, raise your right arm along with your body to the right.
  7. Rotate your body until your arm is straight up toward the ceiling so your body forms the letter T shape, your right feet would be on left. Then bring the dumbbell in the high plank position.
  8. Again perform a push-up and then raise your left arm along with your body to the left side until your body form T letter. That’s one repetition.
  9. Do two to three sets of five to eight reps each.

Note: Before doing T pushup with dumbbells, I would suggest you perform without weight. Once you’ll be able to perform 10 to 15 reps easily, then you can try “T” push up with weights.

2. Dumbbell Pushup To Renegade Row

The dumbbell pushup to renegade row is one of the best upper body dumbbell workouts you can do to build strength, gain muscles, and improve balance.

This is an advanced workout. If you’re good at doing weighted push up then you can try this movement.

Muscle Build: Chest, Arms, Back, Shoulders and Core

Push ups with weights
push ups with weights (Top 7 Back workout for mass gain

3. Regular weighted pushup

If you want to challenge your press-up strength, regular weighted pushups. Doing regular pushup with weight help you develop endurance, strength and power.

This movement also helps you do better in compound exercises like bench press, overhead press, dips, and clean and press.

Muscles worked: Chest, Arms, and Core

How to Regular Pushup with Weight Plate on the Back

  • Get into a high plank position with your arms are directly underneath your shoulders and keep your feet hip to shoulder-width apart.
  • The shorter the width between your feet, the more difficult it to perform and vice versa. And this technique applies to all push-up variations whether you do with or without weights.
  • Keep your body as straight as possible from head to heels.
  • Brace your abdominal muscles, gluteus, and hips. And ask your gym partners to place a weight on your back properly.
  • The weight should be according to your strength. 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.

You may also like: Top 7 Back workout for mass gain

4. Triangle Push-up with Weight

We all know how effective the triangle pushup is in terms of increasing strength and building chest and triceps.

The triangle pushup generates the highest activation in all three heads of the triceps; long, medial and short head compared to other exercises such as kickback, dips, overhead triceps extension, and rope pushdown – a study (1) published by the American Council of Research (ACE) suggested.

Muscle Involved: Triceps, Chest, and Core

How to do triangle weighted push-up

  • Place your hands in the triangle shape on the ground with your arms are straight below your chest.
  • Kick your feet behind you and keep them hip to shoulder width apart.
  • Keep your body in line from top to the bottom.
  • Brace your core, hips and butt. And ask your gym mate to put a weight plate on your back.
  • Slowly bend your elbows and lower your chest toward the ground, as low as you can go.
  • Hold for a second at the bottom and then extend your elbows to push yourself up to the start. This is your one rep.
  • Do as many sets and reps as possible.
  • Perform each rep in the controlled manner.

Also check out:

5. Decline Weight Push up Using Backpack

Doing decline or feet elevated pushup using weight plate could be difficult because the plate can sliding onto your head. That’s why using a backpack can be a better option.

Backpack will be safe and allows you to do it safely.

Muscle worked: Shoulder, Chest, Arms and Core

Here’s how to do with decline weight push up with backpack

  • Put some stuffs in your bag to make it a little heavy. It could be the books, weight plate 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 higher object (6 to 8 inches) such as bench, chair or bed and get into a decline straight arm plank position with your arms are straight below your shoulders.
  • Brace your abdominal muscles and thighs. That’s your starting position.
  • Lower your chest toward the ground, hold for 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 especially strengthens the upper chest and shoulders.

Also Read: The Top 10 Dumbbell Exercises For Shoulders

Weighted Push ups Benefits

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

1. Increase Strength and Tone Muscles

Pushups can provide same strength as the bench press does.

Yes this is true, because a research (2) published by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research demonstrated that the bench press and the pushup both exercises generate similar muscle strength gains.

So think how effective would it be if you add weight to the pushup. You can include the weighted pushup in your general compound workout regime for building strength.

2. Weighted Push-ups Build Muscle Mass

The pushups are great exercises for increase muscles mass.

When it comes to choosing best workout for building muscle mass, pushup must be in the top 10 in my opinion.

Even a study (3) conducted by the Sports Medicine International Open has shown that doing pushups using a weight vest can activate and engaged similar muscles compared to bench press.

 A similar study (4) organized by the Journal of Exercise Science and Fitness recommended that performing pushup exercise with similar load to 40% 1RM bench press is comparably effective for muscle hypertrophy and strength gain over an 8-week training period.

3. Doing Push ups with weights improve balance and stability

Doing pushups with weight vest are also effective when it comes to increasing balance and stability.

Weighted pushups like dumbbell T Pushup, and dumbbell pushup to renegade row are great weighted push-ups variations for developing body balance.

How much weight should you use for weighted a pushup?

It depends on your strength. If you can do 50 pushups in one set, then you’ll also be able to do 15 pushups by putting 15 kg weight plate on your back.

You also need to challenge your strength from time to time. The heavier weight you use, the more strength you’ll generate over a period of time.

References

  1. ACE Study Identifies Best Triceps Exercises – American Council of Research (ACE)
  2. Bench Press and Push-up at Comparable Levels of Muscle Activity Results in Similar Strength Gains – The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
  3. Comparison of Kinematics and Muscle Activation between Push-up and Bench Press – Sports Medicine International Open
  4. Low-load bench press and push-up induce similar muscle hypertrophy and strength gain – Journal of Exercise Science and Fitness

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