3 Push Up Exercises with Extra Core

3 Push Up Exercises with Extra Core

Core activation in Push-up exercises

The Push-ups is a strength exercise, for the Pecs and the core muscles that activate in order to stabilize the spine and enable a neutral spine position throughout the exercise. 

But some Push-up exercises will pump up your core more than others, by changing the body’s direction, disconnecting a limb, working on an unstable surface, and more.

We’ve collected three Push-up exercises you should try in your next training session (whether it’s at the gym, at home, or anywhere else), as it’s super important to diversify your workout sessions with different variations of your regular exercises.


Note: If your wrists start hurting in any Push-up exercise, you could always perform it with your hand on Dumbbells or small Parallettes, on your fists so you’d be able to keep a neutral position of the wrists.

1: Single-Leg Push-up

The second you disconnect one limb off the ground, your core activates immediately in order to stabilize your body and spine. Let’s see how to make it happen –

➔ Get into a plank, in one straight line from head to heel

➔ Disconnect one leg of the ground

➔ Bend your elbows into a Push-up while maintaining a line from the elevated leg to the head

➔ Push back up and keep your leg elevated.

Anatomical Analysis of the Single Leg Push-up

The target muscle is the Pectoralis Major (performing horizontal adduction) and the core muscles that stabilize the body, mostly the Transversus Abdominis and the pelvic floor muscles which maintain internal abdominal pressure.

The muscles that assist in the movement – Anterior Deltoid, Triceps Brachii, and Serratus Anterior.

2: T Push-up

This exercise adds two challenges to the regular Push-up – 

A direction change that makes the side of the body activate, and a disconnection of two limbs, the upper arm and upper leg that stay no longer on the ground.


These are the steps to perform the T Push-up:

➔ Get into a plank and perform one Push-up.

➔ After going back to the plank, disconnect one hand off the ground and raise it straight up in the air and place the upper foot on top of the lower foot.

➔ Make sure to keep your body vertical to the ground. Then, go back into the plank.


Anatomical Analysis of the T Push-up

The target muscle is the Pectoralis Major, and core muscles with an emphasis on the Obliques and the Erector Spinae facing the ground.


The sternocostal head is dominant in this position.

All the muscles facing the floor stabilize the body.


In addition to the external oblique, all the muscles facing the floor direction stabilize the body. The following muscles can be seen: Gluteus medius, tensor fascia latae, spinal erectors.

3: Dome-Down BOSU Push-up

Whether it’s your arms or legs, placing your limbs on an unstable surface will get your core going instantly in order to keep your balance and your spine’s natural curves.


How to perform a Dome-Down BOSU Push-up?

➔ Place the BOSU with the soft part down

➔ Get into a plank position with your fingers facing out

➔ Embrace your core muscles throughout the exercise

Anatomical Analysis of the Dome-Down BOSU Push-Up

The target muscle is not only the Pectoralis Major, but also the stabilizing muscles – the core muscles that are intensively active and serve as a “bridge” between the arms and legs.

The synergists are the Triceps Brachii, Anterior Deltoid, and Serratus Anterior.

Common mistakes

Push-ups are one of the most popular exercises in strength training, which we do mainly to strengthen the chest and core muscles.

But what happens when the chest muscles don’t have enough strength or there’s a lack of awareness of the correct movement?

One of the most common mistakes is that the up and down movement is performed through addiction and abduction of the scapula instead of an elbow bend. 

That makes the Serratus Anterior, as the main muscle that abducts the scapula, the target muscle, and not the Pectoral muscles as it should be.


So what is the correct movement?

Bring the chest to the floor as you flex the elbows and maintain the spinal curves in a neutral position (same as in standing).

In the picture, you can see the common mistake of straight arms and movement through the scapula.

Above, in the upper animation, we see the correct performance.

So how do we solve the problem?

If you don’t have enough chest muscle strength, simply place your knees on the floor.

It will reduce the load and enable you to perform the movement correctly.

As you progress, you can then perform the exercise with straight legs. In both variations, be sure to maintain a straight back and neutral curves.


Strengthening your core is an important goal you should have in every training session, and you can always add it to other exercises you do.

Every time you want to train a muscle, find different ways to make the target muscle, and stabilizers practice different ways to activate by training different exercises in your workout routine. And if you can add core work to some of them, that’s always a good call.

Additionally, learn crucial nuances for every Strength Training exercise to get satisfying results and avoid common mistakes.

With the Muscle and Motion Strength Training App, your workout will be more effective than ever!


Target Muscles

➔ Pectoralis Major


➔ Triceps Brachii

➔ Anterior Deltoid

➔ Serratus Anterior


➔ Abdominal muscles

➔ Erector Spinae

➔ Pelvic Diaphragm (male)

➔ Iliacus

➔ Psoas Major

➔ Diaphragm

➔ Multifidus (Spinal Erectors)

➔ Pelvic Diaphragm (male)

➔ External Oblique


Check out our Strength Training app to increase your knowledge, made especially for fitness professionals!

How to Squat Properly

Anatomical Analysis

Hanging Leg Raises (Hip Flexion)

How to Do a Hanging Leg Raises Correctly

Typewriter Push-ups

Different Vairations