Push ups are not my strong suit. I can do a few more than I used to be able to do but I am not winning any push-up contests anytime soon.
And before you go crazy, there is more than one way to do a push up. There are push up variations that will allow you to do more than one as you build your strength.
However, push ups are considered one of the best full-body exercises you can perform that works nearly every muscle of the upper body. They hit the chest, back, triceps, shoulders and biceps while also hitting your core.
Three push up variations
Traditional push ups
Begin in a plank position with your feet hip-width apart and hands in line with your chest.
Lower until your chest barely brushes the floor, push back up, keeping your elbows, core tight and body in a straight line from head to toe.
On the knees
It is similar to the traditional push up but performed on the hands and knees.
On your knees, plant your hands shoulder-width apart on the ground in front of you. Lower yourself until your chest is an inch above the ground then press back up. Keep your body in a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.
This takes a lot of the work away from the abs and legs.
Tricep push ups
Triceps push-ups follow the same form as regular push-ups; however, placing the arms closer to the sides really targets the triceps muscles along the back of your arms and it also requires more core stabilization.
What is the proper push up form?
There are a few rules regarding form to keep in mind no matter what stage of push-ups you’re tackling.
Don’t let your core sag
When we get tired, we start to let our hips drop, which makes the movement easier. This can strain the spine and hip flexors. Instead, concentrate on engaging your core throughout the movement.
Avoid flaring your elbows
Don’t let them look like “chicken” wings flapping. It puts a strain on the shoulder joint.
So, rather than having your elbows point straight out to the sides, or back toward your feet, you want them to be somewhere in the middle, in a neutral “just-right” position.
What does it all mean?
Start where you are comfortable but challenge yourself and upgrade to harder versions as you progress. It’s not about doing anything fancy. Basic form and exercises go a long way.
How often do you incorporate push ups to your life?