Exercise of the Month: Push Ups

Push ups are a fast and effective exercise for building strength. They can be done virtually anywhere and don’t require equipment.

Traditional push ups are beneficial for building your upper body strength. They work the triceps, pectoral muscles and shoulders. With the proper form they can also strengthen the lower back and core by engaging the abdominal muscles.

Doing push ups every day can be effective if you’re looking for a consistent exercise routine to follow. By doing regular push ups you will notice gains in upper body strength however for best results, continue to add variety to the types of push ups you perform. Gradually increase the number of push ups each week. If you are new to push ups, begin against a wall or on your knees. As push ups become easier then attempt them on your toes keeping the correct form. Doing push ups without proper form can lead to an injury, for example, you may experience lower back pain. If you have a former wrist injury see a physical therapist before performing push ups.

To perform a traditional push up:

  1. Start kneeling on an exercise mat or the floor and bring your feet together behind you.
  2. Bend forward to position yourself in a high plank with your palms flat on the mat, hands shoulder-width apart, and with your fingers facing forward or hands turned slightly in. Your shoulders should be positioned over your hands. Your feet should be together behind you and your back should be flat. Keep your abs pulled in.
  3. Slowly lower your body toward the floor. Maintain a rigid torso and keep your head aligned with your spine. Don’t let your lower back sag or your hips hike upward.
  4. Continue to lower yourself until your chest touches the ground.
  5. Press upward with your arms. Continue pressing until your arms are fully extended at your elbows and you’re back in the plant at the top of a push up position.
  6. Start with 10 push ups or however many your can do with proper form and work your way up as you build strength.

To progress to a more challenging push up you can perform a push with a raised leg or hip adduction, incline push ups on a step or swiss ball, decline push ups, staggered arm push ups, single arm push ups, spider man push ups or clapping push ups.

Push ups are one of the best exercises for building muscle and improving cardiovascular health. There are many different ways to do a push up and whether you’re a beginner or an expert, you should try to incorporate techniques into your workout to receive their health benefits.