Push-ups may be a pain, but don’t eliminate them from your workout routine just yet! Not only do they increase upper body strength, but push-ups also reinforce the core including the back, abdominal, and hip stabilizers (if done in full plank position). Push-ups also increase muscle tone which helps burn more calories even when you are at rest. Additionally, they help strengthen the shoulder stabilizing muscles, which can prevent shoulder injuries down the road.
Push-up #1: Push-ups offer all of the benefits of completing a bench press, but also provide additional core stabilization. It requires no equipment and can be modified to any skill level. To perform a full push-up:
- Your body should be lifted by your arms. Do not compensate with other areas of the body– like using your stomach to lower your body.
- No swaying of the hips as you perform the push-up. Keep your body in a straight line.
- Lower slowly to the ground, then use the arms to push back up
Push-up #2: To perform a modified version of the push-up, you have a few options. The first is the most commonly known: perform the push-up but keep your knees on the ground. Keep your hips in line with your body– do not bend at the hips!
Push-up #3: Another option is to hold the plank position without the actual push-up. You are still getting arm and core strengthening with this exercise! You can complete both #2 and #3 to get the full benefit of the push-ups.
Push-up #4: This can be performed for people who can almost complete a full push-up or people who can complete push-ups and want extra strengthening.
- Start at the full plank position
- Very slowly lower yourself to the floor– try and count ten full seconds during this exercise
- Slowly lowering is called eccentric muscle control—muscle strengthening occurs more quickly with eccentric muscle control. So– always complete exercises with a slow and controlled speed for the most benefit!
Push-ups require a strong line from the head to the feet. This requires muscles to work throughout the entire body. Although sit-up and crunches are good for toning the abdominal muscles, maintaining a strong core with all exercises is so important because it mimics what we all do everyday– stabilize our core while lifting, reaching, and moving! It is important to have a strong core to prevent injury during daily work and home tasks.
Make sure that your “plank” position is strong and you feel like someone could push down lightly on your shoulders, hips, or back and you would not break this position.
Now that you know how to execute a push-up, put yourself to the test:
Workout Option #1:
- Complete three rounds of 10 push-ups or push-up variations
- 10 box squats (see Kylie’s other blog post “No Excuse Rainy Day Work Out” for information on the box squat!)
Workout Option #2
- Complete as many pushups/push-up variations as you can in one minute
- Rest one minute
- Repeat 4 times