We are all familiar with the traditional Plyometric Pushup (page 60 from The Underground Guide). This movement is commonly performed with a handclap while in air. You can increase the difficulty of this movement by performing a handclap BEHIND your back while airborne. This exercise requires explosive power and coordination. I have seen athletes fall on their face when attempting this movement for the first time, so proceed with caution!
Be sure to explode off the ground when performing this Clap Pushup Variation. Your hands should "clap" above your lower back. You will need to explode fast to perform this exercise successfully. Definitely give this variation a try!
If you watched the classic boxing movie Rocky, you are familiar with our next exercise. I have dubbed this pushup variation the Rocky Pushup. For this movement, you will perform alternating one-arm pushups. You should explode from the ground with each repetition, landing on your opposite hand. This pushup variation is very challenging, but AWESOME for functional power development.
Hopping Pushup - This variation involves a plyometric pushup with lateral movement. You will thrust your upper body off the ground, from left to right.
Begin by lowering yourself into the bottom phase of a pushup. On the upward portion of the movement you will explode into the air, thrusting your hands off the ground. Start by thrusting to your left. Thrust back to the center position, and then to your right. This exercise should be conducted at a brisk pace with stationary legs.
Leaping Pushup - For this variation, you will propel yourself off the ground, over an object. Begin by assuming the pushup position, with an object placed on your side. Thrust upward and over the object so you land in a pushup position on the other side of the object. Your feet will remain on the ground as your upper body leaps back and forth over the object. As your power improves, you can raise the height of the object. You can start with a small book and gradually stack additional books on top to increase the difficulty.
Power Overs -Use a basketball or medicine ball for this exercise. Begin with one hand on the ball, one hand on the floor. Thrust your torso up as if you were performing a pushup. Your torso will be propelled into the air. The hand that started on the ball will head to the floor, while the hand from the floor is thrust upward to the ball. There will be a split second where the hand that started on the ball is airborne heading down, while the hand from the floor is heading up towards the top of the ball. As soon as your hand reaches the floor, quickly drop down into a pushup position. Immediately explode back up, once again lifting the hands from the floor. Your hands will thrust side to side, from the floor to the ball.
Pushup Depth Jump - Begin in a pushup position with a platform positioned beside each shoulder. The platform should be approximately 6 inches high. Start with your hands on the ground.
Thrust yourself into the air, landing on the raised platform (cement blocks in the picture). Immediately, spring back into the air, landing with your hands on the floor. Continue at a fast pace, minimizing ground contact.
The following two exercises require a Swiss ball (also known as a stability ball).
Legs on Swiss Ball - Perform a pushup with your feet balanced on the ball. By balancing on the unstable surface, you will activate the core and challenge your balance. This exercise is much more difficult than it appears.
Hands on Swiss Ball - Perform a pushup with your hands on the Swiss ball. This exercise targets the shoulders, arms, and core while simultaneously improving balance. If you wish to increase the difficulty, elevate your feet from a chair. For a real challenge, elevate your feet from another Swiss ball.
L Pull-ups - This exercise will humble many pull-up enthusiasts. Hold your legs parallel to the floor, so your body forms the letter L. Maintain this position as you perform pullups. You can also perform an L Chin-Up.
1-Arm Plank On Ball - Perform a plank with one arm on top of a medicine ball or basketball. This exercise will challenge the most elite athletes. If you think the traditional plank is effective, give this variation a try. It will not take long to feel this exercise burning throughout your entire body.
Grasshopper - This animal exercise is great for conditioning while simultaneously strengthening the core. Begin with your hands and feet touching the floor. You will initiate the movement by bringing your right foot underneath your body until it touches your left hand. Immediately after touching your hand, repeat the movement by bringing your left foot across the body to your right hand. Continue this back and forth motion at a brisk pace. Your hands will remain stationary as your legs continuously swing towards opposite hands.
Running Cat - From a squatting position, jump forward onto your hands. Push off the ground with your hands, landing with the feet back in a squatting position.
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Devoted as I am to popularizing amateur boxing and to improving the caliber of this particularly desirable competitive sport, I am highly enthusiastic over John Walsh's boxing instruction book. No one in the United States today can equal John's record as an amateur boxer and a coach. He is highly regarded as a sportsman. Before turning to coaching and the practice of law John was one of the most successful college and Golden Gloves boxers the sport has ever known.