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A Single Russian Push-Up Is Like a Full Core Workout

Tehrene Firman

Tehrene FirmanJuly 27, 2020

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Photo: Getty Images/mihailomilovanovic

Even though basic push-ups already bring on an impressive arm burn, they’ve got nothing on some of the ultra-hard variations out there. Before today, I didn’t think there was anything that could make me sweat more than dive bomber and half-split push-ups, but then I was introduced to the Russian push-up—a move that basically gives you an entire core workout in a single rep. Nope, I’m not even slightly exaggerating.

The Russian push-up is a mix of a push-up with a forearm plank. Separately, the two moves are easy to manage. But in this sequence, you’re shifting back and forth between the two in swift, seamless motions—something that looks a lot easier in the video below. (Trust me, I tried.) Aside from strengthening and toning your arms and shoulders, completing the exercise successfully also requires the help of all the muscles in your core—especially as you move in and out of the forearm plank position.

While you don’t see Russian push-ups in workouts very often, that should change. It’s clearly an all-star exercise worthy of being added to every routine. There’s only one thing you might want to keep in mind. Save it for the end of your sweat sesh, because if you do it at the beginning, there’s no way you’re going to have enough energy to get through the rest of your workout. You’re welcome.

How to do a Russian push-up

  1. Start in a plank position with your shoulders directly over your wrists.
  2. Lower down into a push-up with your chest hovering above the floor.
  3. Shift back into a forearm plank.
  4. Shift back to a low push-up position.
  5. Raise back up into a high plank.
  6. Lower and repeat without taking a break.

Before you get started, make sure you’re doing a regular push-up the right way:

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