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Remember the days of grade school gym when we were all forced to participate in the dreaded pushup test? *shudder* Yikes, that’s a bad memory for all of us. Make push-ups your fitness test to impress. Keep reading to learn the secret to building a better body with a few up variations.
“Really? Push-ups can do that much for me even though they’re just a bodyweight exercise?” You bet your fit bottom they can. Push-ups engage the entire body and work muscles from your legs to your shoulders. The primary focus of the classic push up is the working of the pectoral (chest muscles) and the triceps. It is a great toning exercise and also considered a resistance exercise. Resistance exercises not only strengthen muscles but also gives your body bone-building benefits.
Here are 5 push-up variations that will give you a full bodied workout sure to make your muscles sore and tired. But, keep working and you will one day finish your set and impress yourself!
The Classic Push-Up
What’s It Do: The classic push-up works the general upper body focusing on building the pectoral and other chest muscles.
How Do You Do It: Set your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, hands facing forward. Set your feet directly behind you at a comfortable position (together or slightly separated). The further apart your feet are, the more stable you will be until you are able to build your balance up enough to put your feet together. Make your body into on straight line. Your butt should stay in line with your legs and back, never up in the air. If you’re struggling with this try tightening your core to push your body into a straight line. Look straight ahead rather than straight down. Lower your body until your chest touches the ground, or arms are at a 90-degree angle, and push yourself back into your starting position.
Tips: Try doing push-ups on your knees until you’ve built up your chest strength enough to do a standard push-up in proper form.
The Three Point Stance Push-ups
What’s It Do: This push up is more challenging to help build balance through building the core muscles.
How Do You Do It: Set up just as the classic push-up but instead of placing feet side by side place one foot a top another.
What’s It Do: Focuses on strengthening the triceps to work your arms and shoulders as well as your chest.
How Do You Do It: Set up as the Classic push-up but place your hands closer together, directly under your shoulders. Keeping your elbows tucked to your side lower your body and touch your chest to the ground.
What’s It Do: The Walking push-up works on abdominal/core development and shoulder stability.
How Do You Do It: Set up on a smooth surface in a Classic push-up position placing your feet together and on a towel. Rather than lowering your chest onto the ground, walk with your hands across the floor keeping your back and butt in line throughout the movement.
What’s It Do: Develops upper body power and explosiveness.
How do you do it: Set up in the Classic push-up position on a well-padded carpet or exercise mat. Lower yourself and upon rising push hard enough for your hands to come off the floor and catch some air. When you come back down to the ground go immediately into the next repetition pushing hard enough to hang 10 again. Try clapping in front or behind your body for added difficulty. Be sure to send us/comment with your video of you doing this one!
Test your push up levels to see where you stack up! Do as many push-ups as possible without resting.
Men: 17 – 19 push-ups
Women: 10 – 21 push-ups
Men: 30 – 39 push-ups
Women: 22 – 30 push-ups
Men: 39 – 49 push-ups
Women: 30 – 36 push-ups
Men: 50+ push-ups
Women: 37+ push-ups
If your number is below the average level don’t get discouraged! Doing push-ups a few days a week will help to increase this number! Apps like 100Pushups can help you achieve your push up and fitness goals by tracking your progress and continuing to push you in your challenge. Try taking Prolab Quick Fire before testing yourself to give you an added boost of energy and performance!*
So work hard, push yourself, and one day you’ll be able to march back into that gymnasium and challenge anyone to a push off** and show off your 100 push.
**Push Off: noun. Competition of push-ups to show off your newly acquired mad skills.
Your turn: How many push-ups can you do first try?
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