Push ups are an awesome exercise that builds your chest, shoulders, triceps and overall pushing strength. It’s no wonder push ups are one of the most popular exercises because they are so effective and you can do them anywhere without equipment.
As you get better at push ups, you may want to increase the challenge and make the exercise more dynamic.
Spider push ups are a dynamic variation of push ups that can help you increase the difficulty of push ups while building even more core strength.
There are some nuances to completing the spider push up with proper form that you will learn in this article. Like most exercises, looking at other people doing them in the gym is not the best way to learn.
Ideally, you should be able to complete at least 15 to 20 standard push ups before attempting a spider push up.
Follow these instructions and you’ll be banging out spider push ups as a way to impress your friends or simply get stronger and more muscular.
- Position your body with your arms straight out, abs tight, holding your body off the floor
- Hands and arms should be positioned slightly below your shoulders, fingers pointed forwards
- Lower your body until your chest is an inch, or two above the floor while pulling your right knee toward your elbow and keeping your back flat
- Push your body away from the ground until your arms lock while bringing your right leg back to the push up position
- Repeat with the other leg and alternate for the desired number of repetitions
- Your active leg and foot should stay off the ground throughout the entire rep.
- Control the descent, don’t drop your body without control
- Keep your head and neck upright, avoid dropping your head forward
- Keep your shoulders down away from your ears, avoid shrugging them.
- Breathe in on the way down through your nose and out through your mouth on the pushing phase
3 Common Form Mistakes
1. Dropping your hips
As you complete the repetition, it’s important to prevent your lower back from hyperextending so that your hips droop toward the ground. By keeping tension in your core – your abs and lower back muscles – your hips and shoulders stay connected and you will be much stronger.
So be sure to maintain tension in your body as you do the push ups by keeping your core tight.
2. Rotating your shoulders excessively
One very common form mistake when doing spider push ups is to excessively rotate your body as you complete each repetition. So each time you bring your leg up, let’s say your right leg, you twist your entire body and torso to the right instead of keeping your torso more in line with the ground.
One reason this may happen is lack of hip flexibility to step your leg toward the same side elbow as you drop down into the push ups. In addition, you must prevent your body from rotating by using your core muscles. So it’s a combination of hip flexibility, core stability, and upper body pushing strength that allows you to perform the spider push up with great form.
3. Lifting your hips as you press back up
If you lack the pushing strength to press your body back up as you complete the exercise, you may lift your hips in the air, which makes pressing back up easier.
Ideally, you want to keep your hips completely straight so they do not drop or lift. Your hips should stay in the same plane.
Why Are Spider Push Ups Harder Than A Regular Push Up?
It may be a surprise how much harder spider push ups are compared to a standard military-style push up.
The Spider Push Up challenges core stability while making the push up harder because one side must bear the weight of the leg that is coming off the ground and positioned away from the body.
Not only must one side push more weight, but you also must stabilize your torso so that it does not twist excessively as you pull your leg up. That’s where your core strength comes in and also hip flexibility.
How Can I Make the Spider Push Up Easier?
If you have trouble with pushing back up, consider using an incline like a bench or smith machine bar to elevate your hands. Then as you get stronger, lower the incline.
Another easier variation is to bring your active leg half-way toward the same side elbow. Eventually, you can try to touch your knee to your elbow.
As you’ve learned, the spider push up is a dynamic exercise that kills 2 birds with one stone; you improve pushing up strength while also working on core strength and stability.
If you only have a few minutes to spare during the day, or want to change up your routine, consider giving the spider push up a try. If the spider push up is too challenging for you, it can make a good fitness goal.
I hope this guide has been helpful for you. If you have any questions, just leave a comment!