Fitness Tips

The 5 Most Challenging Weighted Push-Ups for Your Next-Level Workout

Tehrene Firman

Photo: Stocksy/ Sergio Marcos
Push-ups are old school, but they’ll forever be one of the best ways to strengthen your body. “The regular push-up provides the most amount of stability and the greatest opportunity to train strength in your chest, shoulders, triceps, and core with your legs extended,” says Ben Lauder-Dykes, a trainer at Fhitting Room. When you level-up with weighted push-ups, you get even more out of the movement.

There are a handful of different ways you can add weighted push-ups to your workout routine. You can do the classic version where you put weight on your back, or spice things up with the addition of dumbbells. You can also up the challenge even more by elevating your legs, or your entire body. You can make weighted push-ups as easy or as hard as you want, and these are the best options to start with.

The most challenging weighted push-up variations

1. Weighted push-up

The traditional weighted-up push-up involves putting weight on your back, getting in the push-up position, and performing regular push-ups. Start with a small weight plate and work your way up. (Just be sure to have a partner help you with higher weights.) You can also put dumbbells in a backpack, or use a weighted vest ($43), for added security.

How to do it:

  1. Get into a push-up position on your knees, or a tabletop position.
  2. Reach behind you to set the weight on your back.
  3. Carefully extend your legs out into push-up position.
  4. Perform a set of push-ups.
  5. Move back into a push-up position on your knees, or a tabletop position, to remove the weight from your back.

2. Dumbbell T push-up

The dumbbell T push-up will make your upper body and core burn on a new level. Start with a lighter dumbbell and work your way up.

How to do it:

  1. Start in a high plank with the dumbbells in your hands.
  2. Perform a push-up.
  3. Rotate to your right into a side plank, raising your left arm toward the ceiling.
  4. Hold, lower your arm, and return to your high plank.
  5. Complete a push-up and repeat on the opposite side.

3. Elevated legs weighted push-up

To make your standard weighted push-ups more difficult, elevate your feet. To ensure the weight doesn’t fall off your back, put it in a backpack or use a weighted vest.

How to do it:

  1. Start in a tabletop position with a stable elevated surface behind you, like a bench or chair.
  2. Step back onto the elevated surface, one leg at a time.
  3. Perform a set of push-ups.
  4. Slowly lower your legs back to the floor.

4. Dumbbell push-up with row

Doing a push-up with a dumbbell is already challenging, but this version adds in a row to work your upper body even more.

How to do it:

  1. Start in a push-up position with the dumbbells in your hand.
  2. Complete a push-up, then perform a row with your left arm.
  3. Complete another push-up, then perform a row on your right arm.
  4. Continue alternating back and forth. Or, throw in a burpee, as shown in the video above.

5. Elevated body weighted push-up

If you’re feeling super-strong and ready for the next level, you can also do completely elevated weighted push-ups.

How to do it:

  1. Get into a push-up position on a sturdy, elevated surface, like boxes or platforms. Make sure the weight is secured, like with a weighted vest.
  2. Perform a set of push-ups.

Make sure your push-up form is top-notch:

Oh hi! You look like someone who loves free workouts, discounts for cult-fave wellness brands, and exclusive Well+Good content. Sign up for Well+, our online community of wellness insiders, and unlock your rewards instantly.

Loading More Posts...