How to Do a Sphinx Pushup

Unlike the standard pushup, the Sphinx places your forearms flat on the floor.
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The Sphinx was an ancient Egyptian mythical creature known for its riddles, but there's nothing mysterious about the pushup variation that shares its name. The Sphinx pushup works all the same major muscle groups as a standard pushup, bit it also puts considerably more pressure on your triceps. Use Sphinx pushups to add a little variety to your normal pushup routine.

    Step 1

    Lie on your stomach with your legs extended behind you and your feet together. Raise your head and shoulders slightly by positioning your forearms flat on the floor with your arms roughly shoulder-width apart, your palms facing the floor and your fingers pointed straight ahead. You should vaguely resemble a Sphinx in this position.

    Step 2

    Rise into a modified plank position with your forearms flat on the ground. Brace your abdominals and clench your glutes to maintain a rigid straight line stretching from your shoulders to your feet. Avoid rounding your back or letting your hips dip to the ground for the duration of this exercise.

    Step 3

    Push your body up by straightening your arms at the elbow. Hold this position briefly before slowly lowering yourself back to your plank position with your forearms on the floor. This completes one rep. Aim for five to 10 reps at first, gradually accomplishing more as you build the necessary strength in your triceps.


    • If you are just starting this exercise, you may need to ease the load by shifting the lower point of contact with the ground from your feet to your knees. This will decrease the amount of body weight you have to lift.


    • Always take a few minutes to warm up and cool down before and after exercise. Try some light jogging in place and moving your elbow and wrist joints in circles before attempting the Sphinx pushup.


    • You should not attempt this exercise if you have a history of shoulder or arm problems. Consult with your doctor or physical therapist before starting any new exercise routine.

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