The push-up variation I use to build big arms and a bulletproof core

Do you find push-ups too easy? Russian push-ups will challenge your arm strength while also helping you sculpt an invincible core

Young woman in plank pose, leaning on her lower arm, city park
(Image credit: Getty Images)

I love doing push-ups. I include this simple yet effective bodyweight exercise in almost every workout and do as many reps as I can before my arms and pecs give in. But doing standard push-ups day after day can get a bit.. boring. Hence why I introduced Russian push-ups in my workout routine: this brilliant push-up variation works my core as well as my arms/pecs. Perfect!

Much like the kettlebell swing, a one-move full-body workout, the Russian push-up turns a seemingly easy exercise into something brutally challenging. Well, Russian push-ups are not impossible to perform but they are certainly harder than standard push-ups. For the same reason, they are also more effective.

I like to do them with exercise sliders (sometimes also called core or ab sliders) under my feet to make it easier to move my body around during the swinging part of the movement. If you're working out on hard floor, you can wear socks, that would make your feet slippery enough to work.

When I'm not doing Russian push-ups, I do one of the best push up variations to increase my pecs size and build bigger arms at home

Let's watch the video to see how Russian push-ups are done:

Russian push-ups: How to do it right

Start in a high plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart, core engaged, spine in neutral position (head facing forward) and arms fully extended. From here, lower your body down until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle, then shift into a low plank position. In this position, you should rest your bodyweight on your forearms and the balls of your feet.

Here comes the tricky part: from the low plank position, you want to pull yourself back up into the low push-up position. Press your hands down into the ground and pull your elbows towards your wrists. You'll need some triceps strength to be able to do this.

Once back in a low push-up position, all you have to do is press yourself up into the starting position. That's one rep. Keep doing the movement the same way you'd do push-ups, without a break, until you finished with the set.

Why push-ups are key to building muscle at home

The humble push-up is the ultimate compound exercise to help you get fit at home. You don't need any workout gear to be able to perform them and there are so many weird push up variations, such as the fingertip push-up and arm-release push-up, it's impossible to get bored of this exercise.

There is even research saying that push-ups are as effective in building muscle as the bench press. Can't do push-ups? Here's how to get started with push-ups. There is even a way to combat wrist pain during push-ups, although that technique might not work for Russian push-ups.

Speaking of excellent bodyweight exercises that require little to no equipment: squats and pull-ups are equally as good and can complement push-up training perfectly. By just doing these three exercises, you can train and strengthen your whole body in the most time effective way possible.

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Matt Kollat
Matt Kollat

Matt is T3's Fitness Editor and covers everything from smart fitness tech to running and workout shoes, home gym equipment, exercise how-tos, nutrition, cycling, and more. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar and Fit&Well, and he collaborated with other fitness content creators such as Garage Gym reviews.