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Pushup Exercises and the Celebrities Who Do Them

Updated on November 8, 2016

Pushups have been done to death. The basic exercise brings up a cacophony of drill seargants screaming into the misery of cold bootcamp air at people who volunteered for this abuse. Why this damn pushup has survived so long should be a mystery for the ages.

Instead, this bodyweight exercise has not only survived, but exploded across the globe. It is now a virtual necessity in anyone’s fitness routine; from bodybuilders to Cirque de Soleil performers, people love (or love to hate) doing pushups.

Now in a minute I’m going to blow your mind with a lengthy list of ground pressing movements. From the basic hands flat butt flat version to the 360 degree plyometric push from the ground; we’ll cover it. No, this writer will not be giving you a demo of that version, not a successful one at any rate!

Before I do that, however, I want to demonstrate just how pervasive this exercise is in any culture, throughout any economic class. Who does pushups?

He's famous now. Adults, don't try this at home.
He's famous now. Adults, don't try this at home. | Source

Ellen Degeneres and Michelle Obama

Challenged on her show by Ellen Degeneres, Michelle Obama, as First Lady, put her hands to the floor and knocked out 25 reps in good form. Not bad at all for a 48 year old woman! And that wasn't even to failure.

Michelle Obama in perfect pushup form
Michelle Obama in perfect pushup form | Source

Pushup Traveling Man

Joel Kirsch became famous doing a 35 mile, 7 week journey across Marin County in California. The catch? He traveled the distance by doing pushups. The 60+ year old man embarked on the journey to raise awareness for the link between fitness and educational success. MoreMarin.com reports he completed an estimated 35,000 pushups. Whew!

A man traveling in pushup position. Literally.
A man traveling in pushup position. Literally. | Source

Herschel Walker

The prevailing rumor, testified to by the former NFL star himself, is that Herschel Walker does thousands of pushups, sit-ups and pull-ups on a daily basis, and never touches weights. All this exercise while maintaining a Spartan diet of one meal a day. How many thousands? Approximately 1,500 pushups is his off-hand estimate when asked. But who's counting?

Doing that many pushups in a week would be an accomplishment, the fact Herschel Walker does this on any given day would make him famous somewhere, regardless of his background. Oh, and by the way, he's a middle-aged guy!

Herschel Walker in his current incarnation as an MMA competitor.
Herschel Walker in his current incarnation as an MMA competitor. | Source

Rap star Nelly obviously works out, a lot. One of his favorite exercises? Oh come on now! Pushups of course! In an interview with AskMen, Nelly reveals a daily habit that pays homage to Herschel Walker's routine:

"I’m not able to get into the gym as often as I would like, which is about 2-3 times a week. Regardless, I’ll still do 1,000-1,500 sit-ups and push-ups a day; they’re easy and I don’t need a gym to do them." (AskMen)

Sure, 1,000 plus pushups and sit-ups every day is easy.

Nelly

Nelly shows off his pushup chiseled physique
Nelly shows off his pushup chiseled physique | Source

Reggie Bush and Kim K. doing, well, just Reggie Bush

In a tribute to how little she did to earn her celebrity, oh wait, wrong blog. Anyway, a famous, and to give credit where it's due, exciting and well done photo shoot, Kim Kardashian adds resistance while Reggie Bush does pushups. I'm guessing he could knock out a couple thousand with ease, don't you think?

Kim Kardashian and Reggie Bush
Kim Kardashian and Reggie Bush | Source

Granny doesn't need to Lift

Unbelievable. Really, it's hard to believe this picture is real, and since I couldn't track the source, it might not be. If it is, however, she deserves some fame. How many of non-elderly folks out there can do this? Uh huh, me neither.

Ok, so it's not a pushup, but with this kind of strength I'm sure she can do them.
Ok, so it's not a pushup, but with this kind of strength I'm sure she can do them. | Source

A Million Pushups

Obviously, finding celebrities, or temporary celebrities doing this famous exercise is not difficult. Sorry folks, but it has to stop somewhere. Then again, this is the internet and that list could be added to forever. In any case, below is the promised list of pushup variations. Some are hard, some ridiculous, others require serious training to prepare for. Here they are:

The Basic Pushup: Butt flat, chin up, tighten that belly, hands on either side of or below your shoulder line. All the way down all the way up.

One-Handed Pushups: There are many ways to do these. The favored position to start in is with the working hand staggered towards the center of the chest (not necessarily in the center) and the legs spread wide enough to support your body. The exercise requires a lot of core stabilization, so tighten up!

Hindu Pushups: This is the movement of 'up dog' to 'down dog' in yoga sun salutations. Performed correctly, it is easier than the dive-bomber because the hips are used to draw the body back to the starting position.

Divebomber Pushups: The divebomber follows an inverted arc to the 'up dog' position, and reverses through the exact same motion; no hips involved. An advanced and effective pushup.

Fingertip Pushups: These are a great way to increase isometric finger strength, but should be used sparingly. Make sure your fingers are strong enough to handle high volume, and always use in addition to more basic movements.

Finger tip pushups
Finger tip pushups | Source

For the sake of simplifying things, let's just say that anything you do flat, you can do at an angle. Case in point:

Decline Pushups: Elevate your feet on something. A stool, a chair, your dog. Same rules apply, flat back, butt and stomach. Don't let the shoulder blades squeeze towards each other.

**Extreme Declines, better known as Handstand Pushups or Shoulder Presses:

At some angle, the exercise stops affecting your pectoral muscle so much and emphasizes your deltoids. Keep going, you'll know it when you hit it.

Incline Pushups: From counter tops to a low stool, if the upper body is elevated, it's an incline pushup.


Spiderman pushups
Spiderman pushups | Source

Spider/Spiderman Pushups: Do a pushup while bringing one knee up towards your armpit. The body maintains the horizontal plane in this way, while increasing the activation of core stabilizers.


Twisting "T" This is a pushup to an extended arm side plank. Execute the push before you turn all the way to your side. An advanced exercise enhancing balance and strength.

"Rocking" Pushups: Do these from a regular pushup position or a Hindu pushup position. Either way, at the bottom of the movement, rock back to your elbows, then forward as far as you can go, keeping the hands in the same position. Push back up and repeat.

Those are some common pushup variations, but it is by no means an exhaustive list. Ever heard of these?

-Quad hops

-Clapping Pushups

-Behind the back clapping " "

-Soldier Boy (Saluting) Pushup

-Rabbit Hops (All fours leave the ground)

-Halfway Around the World (One arm travels up in a circle on the ground and back, pushing up and down the whole time)

-Bridge Push Ups (Get in bridge position and do push ups)

-(Preying) Mantis Push Up

-360 Degree Spinning Push Ups

Believe it or not, this list could go on for a while. No doubt it will grow over time. For now, I think a video demonstration of those last two is in order. It is the truly incredible athlete who can execute these:


Do you have a favorite pushup exercise you didn't see here? Feel free to add it to the comments below!

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    • MosLadder profile image
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      Chris Montgomery 5 years ago from Irvine, CA

      Mahalo rtaf444! Can you do them all?

    • rtaf444 profile image

      rtaf444 5 years ago

      Great list of push up exercises

    • MosLadder profile image
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      Chris Montgomery 5 years ago from Irvine, CA

      Thank you kjrzeek1, that comment makes it all worth it! I love doing these pushup variations as well, but balancing on bottles may have to wait :-)

    • MosLadder profile image
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      Chris Montgomery 5 years ago from Irvine, CA

      No doubt Jewels, keep it up. Maybe I'll do a hub on planking now. Hmmm....

    • MosLadder profile image
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      Chris Montgomery 5 years ago from Irvine, CA

      Good job beingwell! Consider yourself recognized :-) Now just snap a photo of yourself balancing on a bottle and we'll make it go viral! LOL. Thanks for stopping by!

    • kjrzeek1 profile image

      kjrzeek1 5 years ago from New Jersey, USA

      WOW...One of the best Hub I have ever seen. You certianly put a lot of effort into this one. Push-ups are awesome... I have done almost every one of the push-ups in this hub, but still have a few to try. Thanks again...nice work.

    • Jewels profile image

      Jewels 5 years ago from Australia

      Planking is hard, but gosh it works. My whole core shakes! Geez, I have to get back to it now, push ups, sit ups and planking.

    • beingwell profile image

      beingwell 5 years ago from Bangkok

      The granny photo is hilarious! Is that for real? LOL!

      I can do push-ups too! 5 tops! And under a minute of planking. How come no one notices my efforts? hahaha!

    • MosLadder profile image
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      Chris Montgomery 5 years ago from Irvine, CA

      LOL! "Front and center instead of pointing south' classic :-) Seriously, that granny is something, y'know? Thanks for commenting Jewels.

    • MosLadder profile image
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      Chris Montgomery 5 years ago from Irvine, CA

      CBartelmey, hey who knows? Maybe with some practice you can be balancing on bottles, too! Thanks for commenting.

    • Jewels profile image

      Jewels 5 years ago from Australia

      Great hub, I have to get down on the floor and do 20 - every day! And more on that granny - she is 94 and has been doing yoga for decades. How inspirational is she! And for what it's worth - ladies..........it's them push ups that keep your boobs front and center instead of pointing south.

    • CBartelmey profile image

      CBartelmey 5 years ago from Colorado, United States

      This was interesting; I never would have given such credit to push ups, who knew? I will have to try a few of those modified techniques and see where it gets me. I typically stick to Yoga and running.

    • MosLadder profile image
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      Chris Montgomery 5 years ago from Irvine, CA

      Thanks Emmanuel! I think I might be motivated with her on my back as well. Great comment, cheers!

    • Emmanuel Kariuki profile image

      Emmanuel Kariuki 5 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      If there's an appetiser for pushups, it's this hub. I just did ten. If Kardashian was here, I could have done better. Great hub - Challenges me to go for detail and leave nothing to chance - voted up.

    • MosLadder profile image
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      Chris Montgomery 5 years ago from Irvine, CA

      Heyhey! Returning to place the vote up, now that's integrity! Thank you CloudExplorer.

    • MosLadder profile image
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      Chris Montgomery 5 years ago from Irvine, CA

      Thomas, you might need to give him something to chew on to keep him still, lol. Thanks for your comments!

    • MosLadder profile image
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      Chris Montgomery 5 years ago from Irvine, CA

      Melovy, with your skills, in front of some type of writing instrument is where you belong! But then again, nothing clears the mind for writing like some fresh air and exercise. Thanks for stopping by!

    • MosLadder profile image
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      Chris Montgomery 5 years ago from Irvine, CA

      Sunshine625 you hit on my favorite. It is so easy to get the kids involved with pushups and planks, they are such clowns! World record holder in the plank? A woman in her 60's ish (fact check) who held for around 30 minutes if memory serves. Thanks for commenting!

    • CloudExplorer profile image

      Mike Pugh 5 years ago from New York City

      I love the first few days of returning to regain your strength for doing push-ups, and the inner tearing of your muscle tissue, oh yeah its fantastic baby. Come get some Up's. lol

      Oh I thought I voted it up, oh well I guess I came back to vote on it, maybe I forgot the first time, my bad. There ya go voted up on the coolest hub about Push-ups.

    • ThoughtSandwiches profile image

      ThoughtSandwiches 5 years ago from Reno, Nevada

      mosladder...

      So quite obviously...I need to Up my push-up game considerably. My first attempt to do so with the 'decline' method on the dog failed. The dog was having none of it.

      I will try again...perhaps I can get Kim to lay on my back...

      Excellent hub!

      Thomas

    • Melovy profile image

      Yvonne Spence 5 years ago from UK

      If that old woman is for real I want what she has for breakfast! She is amazing. The guy doing the push-up walk is also inspiring. I have definitely been spending too much time in front of my computer since I started writing on Hubpages, so this has inspired me to get out and do some more exercise. Thanks for the hub.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Excellent hub! I would pass on the bottle pushups...wow that's impressive! I do like counter, wall, floor pushups! Michelle Obama actually inspired me to get moving with them. I like having plank competetions with my daughters and son-in-laws I actually WIN sometimes! :)

    • MosLadder profile image
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      Chris Montgomery 5 years ago from Irvine, CA

      alocsin, thanks for your comments! Same here, some of these would take some serious dedication and training to work up to. Cheers!

    • MosLadder profile image
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      Chris Montgomery 5 years ago from Irvine, CA

      iamaudraleigh, I'm glad you liked it, and I agree about the bottles. Then again, I weight about 200 pounds, so...

    • MosLadder profile image
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      Chris Montgomery 5 years ago from Irvine, CA

      Daisy, thank you so much! Do you do resistance exercise at the gym?

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Thanks for these pushup inspirations. I can do a few different kinds but a lot of these I can't. Voting this Up and Interesting.

    • profile image

      iamaudraleigh 5 years ago

      I like how informative this hub was! However, your first pick of doing push-ups on bottles...craziness! Great hub!

    • Daisy Mariposa profile image

      Daisy Mariposa 5 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

      MosLadder,

      What a great article! I loved it. I go to a gym three to five times per week, but I can't do pushups.

    • MosLadder profile image
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      Chris Montgomery 5 years ago from Irvine, CA

      dinkan53, I like that idea! Pushups have a way of bringing competitiveness out, pull-ups too. Thanks for your comment!

    • MosLadder profile image
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      Chris Montgomery 5 years ago from Irvine, CA

      Hi CloudExplorer, that guy was incredible, wasn't he? I like your term for cycling mass and strength, 'internal evolution.' It's catchy! Sounds like you have a great habit of paying attention to/taking care of your body. Thanks for all the nice comments and fan mail. Cheers!

    • dinkan53 profile image

      dinkan53 5 years ago from India

      Memories flashed from my school days as we had betting on every sunday's. The one who make the most pushup's will be treated by the participants for the whole week. The first picture is just incredible. Voted as interesting.

    • MosLadder profile image
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      Chris Montgomery 5 years ago from Irvine, CA

      Thanks htodd, appreciate the comment!

    • MosLadder profile image
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      Chris Montgomery 5 years ago from Irvine, CA

      Brett.Tesol! Glad you liked it and it's true, the variations seem never-ending. Thanks for dropping by and SHARING!

    • CloudExplorer profile image

      Mike Pugh 5 years ago from New York City

      I love me some push-ups, the funny thing is i just got started my push-up cross training at home yesterday, and will continue throughout the entire year.

      I'm trying to rebuild strength once again. I have created my own form of internal evolution work out I call it, that consist of working out for two years, than taking a year or so break to return back to normal body size, than repeat the process.

      I've managed to boost my internal inner core systems to such a powerful degree, I can lift more than twice my weight at a very small body type, and still maintain safe conditions of heart blood flow & muscle rigidity. I always felt if you moderate everything, your body will have time to catch up, and muscles have memory so they never forget what's been done to them.

      Awesome health hub here, cool stuff, I enjoyed the images, and the stories as well especially the old guy with the 30,000 push-ups, so motivational. Voted up!

    • htodd profile image

      htodd 5 years ago from United States

      Push ups is a great exercise ..Thanks for the great post

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 5 years ago from Thailand

      An interesting read, full of fun. I liked the pictures and your description/comments. The pushup will never fade out, but I am sure new and weird adaptations will catch on!

      SOCIALLY SHARED and voted up.

    • MosLadder profile image
      Author

      Chris Montgomery 5 years ago from Irvine, CA

      Hey Finance Hub, I know what you mean. They are so prevalent in martial arts of all kinds! If I'm not executing them I'm crawling in the same position. I just wonder where anyone would find time to do more than a couple hundred in a day, let alone 1500+ Thanks for commenting and I will be checking out your hubs. Cheers.

    • MosLadder profile image
      Author

      Chris Montgomery 5 years ago from Irvine, CA

      Thank you urmilashukia23, athena2011 and heart4theword! I had fun doing it. I couldn't tell if that was a real picture of granny, but there are several over 70 female bodybuilders who do pushups and look great!

    • heart4theword profile image

      heart4theword 5 years ago from hub

      How tricky those push ups are for that boy! Looked a little dangerous? Now if that was a real picture of granny doing a real push up, I am impressed! Interesting topic:)

    • athena2011 profile image

      athena2011 5 years ago from Beachfront - In My Dreams:)

      Voted up also. Very interesting hub.

    • urmilashukla23 profile image

      Urmila 5 years ago from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA

      Wow!Interesting hub. Voted up!