Push-up Shuffle

How To Do A Push-up Shuffle
By Alli McKeeFebruary 19, 2016

Push-Up Shuffle Exercise

The push-up shuffle is a more challenging variation of a regular push-up.  It is extremely beneficial as it develops shoulder stability, scapular stability and core stability more than the regular push-up variation. This is one of many different push-up variations.

Equipment needed:

You do not need any equipment to do this bodyweight exercise.

Ability level:


The push-up shuffle might be too advanced for beginners. If this is the case, beginners might opt to just perform the shuffle and bypass the push-up component until they have developed the requisite levels of strength and stability. This will help you develop your upper body and core strength, and is one way how to improve your push-ups.


Intermediate lifters can perform the regular variation of the push-up shuffle. If you are doing a full-body workout, you can pair the push-up shuffle with a lower body exercise as part of a superset, or with an upper body pulling exercise. If you are performing a pushing workout, you can do it after a heavier pushing exercise and really challenge your muscles that way. You can also make it part of a metabolic conditioning circuit. Intermediate lifters might perform 2-4 sets of the push-up shuffle and can aim to do 8-14 reps (half of the reps in each direction). Make sure to perform the exercise in both directions.


Women who are comfortable with the push-up shuffle may choose to make the exercise more challenging by adding additional resistance. This can come in the form of chains, a weight plate, or a weighted vest. You can also make the exercise more challenging by performing negative reps and lowering slowly, taking 3-5 seconds, or by performing explosive clapping push-ups. These are just a few of many different types of push-ups you can do. You can also do a push-ups workout and do nothing but different push-up variations. Knowing many different push-up variations is helpful if you are fond of doing push-ups every day.

Benefits of Push-Up Shuffles:

The push-up shuffle is a more challenging variation of a regular push-up, and is extremely beneficial as it develops shoulder stability, scapular stability and core stability more than the regular push-up variation.

How a woman chooses to use the push-up shuffle is highly dependent on her overall technical ability and experience, how much assistance is being used, the set/rep scheme used, where it falls in the workout, what it’s paired with, and what the rest periods are. In general push-up shuffles can be used to do any or all of the following:

  • increasing upper body strength, primarily in the chest, shoulders, arms
  • increasing shoulder and scapular stability
  • increasing core strength, especially the anterior core
  • building muscle
  • fat loss (if your diet and exercise routines are conducive to fat loss)
  • conditioning (if used as part of conditioning circuits)

How to perform a Push-Up Shuffle:

  • Basically, with this exercise, you perform the push-up, push yourself all the way up, shuffle to the side, perform another push-up, shuffle back then perform another push-up.
  • Before you do the push-up, position your body in a straight line from your head to heels. Don’t let your neck or hips collapse, or lower back arch. Your eyes should be looking straight down, at the same spot on the floor the entire time, which would indicate that your neck has remained in the proper position.
  • Before you descend into the push-up, take a deep breath into your belly (360 degrees of air around the spine), brace your core (think about blocking a soccer ball with your stomach), gently tuck your rib cage towards your hips (close the space in your midsection), and squeeze your glutes. This will help keep your body stable and properly aligned.
  • Once you have performed the push-up, walk your hands and feet one step laterally, reset, and perform another push-up.
  • It is up to you to decide whether you move your hands or feet first.
  • Keep your shoulders packed (arms in the sockets).
  • As for the push-up, when you are lowering your body down by bending your elbows, your shoulder blades should protract (spread apart but not cave in). When you are pushing back up, your shoulder blades should move together and down (towards the opposite back pocket in your pants). Your shoulder blades are meant to move, not remain in a fixed position. This is a mistake that many people make.
  • Your whole body should travel in a vertical line throughout the entire movement. Imagine there is a giant wall right ahead and behind you. Don’t let your head or feet hit the wall.
  • At the top of the push-up, your shoulders, elbows, and wrists should be in a straight line stacked on top of each other.
  • At the bottom position of the push-up, your elbows should remain over the wrists.
  • During the lowering portion of the push-up, your elbows should not flare out. They should be kept closer to the body, and at about a 20- to 40-degree angle.  A good visual to have is that your body and arms should resemble an arrow, not a T. This ”T” would indicate that your elbows have flared.
  • At the bottom of the push-up, your elbows should bend to at least 90 degrees.
  • Reset before each rep.
  • Make sure to perform the same number of shuffles in each direction

Video Transcription: 

I love the push-up shuffle because it's a more challenging variation of a regular push-up.  It's going to challenge shoulder stability,  scapular stability and core stability more than just your average push-up.  The way you perform a push-up shuffle is to get into the push-up position, perform the push-up, push yourself all the way up, shuffle to the side, perform another push-up, shuffle back then perform another push-up. I am going to show you what this looks like.

The push-up position, make sure your spine is nice and neutral including your head, your core tight, and your glutes are squeezed.  Perform your push -p, shuffle to the side.  Perform your push- up, shuffle to the side.  

I get a lot of questions about ‘should you move your hand, then your foot or foot, then your hand,” just do whatever feels natural or comfortable for you, you body will generally know what to do.  If you can't do a push-up but you still want to try this variation again for core and scapular stability and shoulder stability you can do it without the push-up. Again make sure your spine stays nice and neutral, your hands are right under your shoulders and your glutes are tight.


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About the author:  Alli McKee

Alli is a certified strength and conditioning specialist. She's contributed to and modeled for a number of major publications including Oxygen magazine and the New Rules of Lifting: Supercharged. You can find out more about Alli on her personal blog at www.allimckee.com.

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