LaLanne push-ups are so difficult that celebrity trainer Ben Bruno hadn’t even bothered to attempt a set in the last decade. In action, the movement almost looks like you’re witnessing a magic trick.
“It’s been 10 years since I’ve done these LaLanne push-ups and I just wanted to see if I could still do them,” says Bruno. “I could, but my abs and shoulders are so sore today that I’m reminded why I don’t do them often.”
Named for fitness industry legend Jack LaLanne (who could do them one-handed with ease), LaLanne push-ups involve extending your arms and legs out superman-style before lifting your body off the ground on your fingertips and toes.
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To Bruno, LaLanne push-ups are more of a (very) occasional challenge—definitely not something that should be added to your daily workout routine. “There’s a big difference between building strength and testing strength,” he writes. “I test myself every so often just for fun and to see what I’m made of, but most of my workouts are slightly below my threshold (think 7/10 hard) and focused on the boring, basic stuff that builds the strength to be able to do the fun stuff.”
If you want to test your strength, this is a great way to do it—with caution, of course. Bruno did his first two sets with bodyweight, then his last set with a weighted vest. But let’s be real—after giving it a try, most people would be happy to be able to do a single LaLanne push-up.
How to do LaLanne push-ups
- Lie on a mat and get into a superman position with your arms and legs extended.
- Curl your toes under, tighten your calves, and put your palms (or fingertips, if you dare) on the ground.
- Engage your core, look to the floor, and lift your body up.
- Lower your body to the ground.
- Pro tip: Try this on carpet or a padded surface.
Too hard? First build strength with regular push-ups:
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