The Perfect Push-up Workout
Ask any personal trainer or exercise enthusiast, push-ups are one of the best upper body exercises for maximum shaping in minimum time. Push-ups are in the ‘push’ force exercise classification. Most often, they require no accessories, just your own body weight as resistance. ‘Push’ exercises involve movement away from center of your body during the contraction phase (when the target muscle is shortening). The push-up is a compound exercise, or one that involves more than one joint movement.
Push-ups work multiple upper body muscles. A wide-grip push-up targets the chest or pectoralis major muscles. Synergist (helper) muscles engaged performing push-ups include the pectoralis minor or upper chest muscles, anterior deltoid or front shoulder muscles and the triceps brachii. Stabilizer muscles are those that are engaged to a lesser degree to help keep you stable throughout the movement. Stabilizers engaged during a classic push-up are the rectus abdominus (long abdominal muscle running from the chest to the pubis); oblique muscles (think ribs and side of the waist) and your quadriceps (front of the thigh). Close-grip push-ups, which involve placing your hands closer together, in a diamond-shape, shifts the emphasis to the triceps. The pectoral muscles act as synergists.
Types and Variations
Push-ups can be modified for all levels; beginner, intermediate and advanced exercisers. Beginners can perform modified push-ups (on the knees), standing push-ups against a wall, or incline push-ups (using the arm of a sofa, for example). Advanced exercisers can perform straight leg push-ups with feet elevated, staggered hands, one hand elevated (on a yoga block) or ’clap’ push ups. Pike push-ups (performing a push-up from a downward dog yoga pose) place a greater emphasis on the shoulder muscles. Push-ups can be combined with other movements, such as straight-arm side planks, as well as lower body exercises, such as the inch-worm or walk out to straight leg push-up.
Perfect Push-ups Workout Routine
The Perfect Push-up Workout routine refers offers a structured alternative to traditional push-ups, using a unique set of portable handles that stand on a rotating disc base. Using the discs to rotate your hand position mid push-up is more challenging for your upper body and core, as it is harder to stabilize your body. On the first day, you perform a ‘one-set maximum’ test using the grips. During this drill, you do as many push-ups as you can with good form without resting. Once you have completed the test, refer to the accompanying workout chart and select the number that most closely matches your maximum number of push-ups. This determines how many repetitions you will perform for each set.
The basic workout involves performing a series of two-minute push-up sets on alternate days for 3 weeks. Every week, the number of sets you perform and push-up variation changes. After three weeks, you perform the one-set maximum test again. Ideally, you will be able to do more push-ups as you’ll be stronger. You then start the plan over using your new maximum number to determine your next two-minute routine.
Related search terms
- push up abdominus muscle