Are you fed up with the push-up? While push-ups are an effective and efficient exercise, they are not ideal for everyone. If you suffer from shoulder joint instability, weak wrists, or rotator cuff pain, or have trouble lifting your own body weight, these push-up alternatives are for you. All you will need is a set of free weights.
Wide floor chest press
Push-ups require a tremendous amount of core strength to stabilize the body and keep the hips from sagging with each repetition. Fortunately, you can chisel your chest without compromising your lower-back health by performing floor chest presses. The floor provides spine support and increases the difficulty level of a standard standing chest press by forcing your muscles to work against gravity.
Note: If shoulder instability is a concern, use a low weight or skip over exercise and try the narrow chest press below.
Narrow chest press
For this exercise, you'll remain in the same position as the wide floor chest press with a slight shift in the location of your arms. By narrowing your position from a wider grip, the shoulder has less force working against it, subsequently engaging the triceps more. This is a safer position for someone challenged by shoulder joint instability.
One of the main benefits of the push-up is its ability to enhance core strength. The plank offers a similar experience by engaging the core muscles without the added joint stress generated by repeatedly lifting your own body weight. If you encounter sore wrists during this exercise, simply adjust your positioning to a forearm plank.