How To Make Pushups Harder? (Harder and More Effective Pushups)

If you have reached a point where it seems you can do 50-100 pushups no problem it may be time to make your pushups harder so you can decrease the amount of reps. There are also other reasons to reduce reps including wear and tear on your shoulders.

If you have bad shoulders the reps can make them worse make sure you have great form before proceeding. There are many ways to do this that we will go over so start with one if you don't like it move to another.

The Push up works a wide range of muscles that's why it is great to challenge yourself with this move:

  • Chest
  • shoulders
  • triceps
  • abs
  • the wing muscles under your armpits

Among others depending on the variations you perform with your push up.

So how do you make pushups harder?

Pushups are a great compound bodyweight exercise so making them harder as you progress is a great thing you can do this by performing them like the below:

  • Perform On The Decline
  • Complete After Your Chest or Tri Workout
  • While Doing Interval Cardio Workouts
  • Using Only One Arm 
  • Adding Weight To Your Body

Doing Pushups At The End Of Chest Workout

If you are knocking out push ups of 50, 100 or more at a time when you do them by itself that is a great accomplishment. If you want to do something different to add some difficulty try adding them after your workout when your body is more fatigued.

Especially after a chest workout where your abs, shoulders, chest and triceps have been worked to the max. You can do push ups more as a burn out as well.

It is a perfect way to end your workout and blast that chest and rest of your upper body including those abs. Start with a few sets of 15-20 then increase from there.

Decline Push Ups

The decline pushup is one of a few position variations you can do from the basic pushup. Your feet are elevated on a higher surface with hands at normal shoulder position.

You can use anything that is stable a bench, stairs, swiss exercise ball or box. The higher the surface the harder it will be that is why stairs can be a great thing. As your strength increases so can your angle by moving up steps obviously there is limitations to this. You can just use higher chairs or boxes as well.


  • Start from a kneeling position with your back to your bench, chair, box or stairs. Hands on floor crawl your feet up to the elevated item.
  • Bend your elbows and lower just like a normal pushup keeping your back and neck straight as possible.
  • Push down and return to the starting position
  • Complete 2 to 4 sets of 10-30 reps or whatever you are comfortable with

Weighted Push Ups

There are a couple main options to add weight to your pushups to make them more challenging. You can simply add a plate of 25, 35, 45lbs to your back or multiple ones. The issue with this is you will need to have somebody there to help you set it up.

Place the weight right between your shoulders for standard pushups or lower below your shoulder blades for decline pushups.

The easier way to do weighted pushups is to either use a backpack with weight or a weighted vets. You can stack books or anything that is level in a backpack then use the backpack as normal to do your pushups. Be careful when you are done because if you turn to one side the weight can shuck you that way.

That is why if you use a backpack you are better off getting a sporty one that has buckles that come across the front to hold them in place Amazon and Walmart have some pretty cheap ones anywhere from $5 to as much as you want to spend. Then when not using for that you can use a normal backpack.

A weighted vest is the best way to go if you are working out on your own as it is much more stable. The issue is they can be much more expensive but if you have reached a point that you are adding weight to all your bodyweight workouts it may be worth it to get an adjustable weight vest then you only have to buy one. Again they are expensive.

But all you have to do is put on and perform your push ups as normal.

Resistance Band Push Ups

This is something you can do even with the extra cheap bands that don't have the handles. Simple put around your back and wrap around your hands to the tension you want. Perform your push up as normal.

These can be pretty fun to do as you can do them for decline and incline.

Plyometric Push Ups

Plyometric push ups are a great weigh to add difficulty to your standard push ups. You perform these by exploding up from the bottom and performing a clap as your upper body goes air borne. You can also go behind your back and then forward as you get better.

One Arm Push Ups

One arm push ups are an amazing feat there are several modifications you can make to complete these as well.  You need to put your legs a little wider then the normal stance.

Starting you you can do what is called an assisted one arm pushup where you have one arm out to your side elevated just a bit we have found a yoga block works great for this. As you go down if you need some assistance you can push on that off arm.

As you get better put one arm behind your back with one arm down straight underneath you directly in the middle. Perform one arm pushups and switch arms.

If these are too tough and you don't like the assisted ones then you can try incline one arm which are much easier.

Cardio And Push Ups

You can work your push ups into your cardio workouts as well. If you are doing some plyometric set workouts then add them in at the beginning or end of the set.

Or you can just do a nice long set of pushups in the beginning of your workout then do another long set to failure at the end to see where you are at when fatigued.

Related Questions

Which Push Ups Are Harder?

If you really want to make your push harder you can start with walking jump push ups and then there are two finger one's which were made famous by Bruce Lee.

How Do I Increase The Intensity Of My Push ups?

You increase the intensity of your push ups by always keeping your form and maybe adding either weight or put push ups last and do them to failure for a couple sets.

How To Make Push Ups More Effective?

You can make push ups for effective by making sure you keep your form and keep it tight. Keep your core tightened, squeeze your glutes, don't flare elbows wide, and push the floor away from you. Don't use your momentum up and down do at least 2 counts if not more for each rep.


If you have reached the point where you need to make your push ups harder then reward yourself with these different variations. There are many others as well so do your research if you don't like the one's presented here.

You can actually combine these into a single chest busting workout that will lead to added size and strength not only to you chest but also to your shoulders and chiseled abs.


Tab Winner

We are fun loving family that lives on a small farm and tries to be healthy. We are not fitness fanatics we are just trying to keep things simple especially with how busy our lives are. We have a few horses, a few dogs, and a young daughter along with a big extended family. Follow us on our journey. I hope you enjoy the website. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. Please check back for updates!

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