As a personal trainer and a fitness writer, I spend a lot of time thinking about exercises - specifically, new exercises (or at least twists on the old exercises) that will keep my clients and readers challenged and motivated. That means wondering things like, "How I could incorporate even more muscle groups during pushups?"
My clients are always thrilled when I come to them with new pushup exercises, shouting things like, "Oh my gosh! Another new pushup? When do we start?"
Okay, I might have heard that wrong.
The plank pushup is the latest exercise my clients love to hate because it incorporates even more core strength than traditional pushups. I know, it's like a small miracle. The idea is to do a pushup (on the knees or toes) and, as you pushup, rotate your body to one side into a side plank. You'll not only build more strength and endurance in your arms and shoulders (since holding your body weight on one arm is much more challenging than two), you'll feel your obliques really kick in during the rotation. The legs work as well to stabilize your body, making this a full body exercise.
Do it right: In pushup position, bend the elbows and keep the core stiff and braced as you lower into a pushup. As you push back up, rotate your body to the left, taking the left arm straight up as you balance on the right arm, feet staggered (you can also stack your feet to make it harder). Lower back down into another pushup and then rotate into a side plank on the other side. Repeat for 1-3 sets of 8-16 reps (1 rep includes side planks to the right and left).
Modified Version on Your Knees