I Survived the Near-Impossible “Spiderman Pushup.” Here’s How to Try It for Yourself

Photo: Getty Images/Cavan Images
My boxing class was just starting to begin. It was a Sunday morning and I had been out late the night before, so I expected it to be rough—but I had no idea what I was in for. First up: The instructor, Edward Rush, co-founder of Superior Fitness Lab, told half of the class to knock out 50 air squats, while the other half had to crawl across the floor (three times!) doing what he called Spiderman push-ups.

When I saw Rush demonstrate this breed of push-up, I shook my head in disbelief, thinking, "Yea right... fat chance." I opted to start with the squats, where I got a nice view of the rest of the group gliding across the room doing the most insane-looking push-up/crawl hybrid I've ever seen. To describe the move for you, it requires starting in the push-up position, and bending one knee in towards its corresponding elbow as you push down into the push-up. In this case, you had to do it while moving forward, which added a whole other level of complication to the move.

They made it look easy. But once it was my turn, I got down onto the floor and immediately began to suffer. The Spiderman push-up is no joke. Here's the deal, though: "Spiderman push-ups require the person performing the exercise to engage the muscles of the core to a greater degree than a regular push-up, because one foot is off the ground while performing each repetition," Rush tells me. "It also requires a greater degree of upper body strength, because with each repetition, the majority of body weight shifts to the side of the body with the leg on the ground and the arm stretched forward. For this reason, performing Spiderman push-ups can serve as a bridge exercise if one is trying to develop the ability to do one arm push-ups." (Totally me.)

Not only that, but this special push-up's working your hips, too. "The Spiderman push-up includes a hip mobility aspect into what is primarily an upper body strength exercise,' he says. "Additionally, from a programming standpoint, since they're most commonly done while moving forward, they're an excellent exercise to pair with other exercises that involve movement across space. An example would be to perform Spiderman push-ups across a distance of 20 feet and then perform walking lunges for a distance of 80 feet, followed by performing the Spiderman push-ups again for a distance of 20 feet." Yeah, that's what he had me do, and it is hard. My body felt like jello after the class—but I will say, if you're looking for a full-body challenge that really kills your arms, channel Spiderman and try these out.

To work your arms even more, why don't you try the hard push-ups that Kate Hudson does. Or try out TRX push-ups so you can fire up your lower body at the same time. 

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