Why Should I Add Push Ups to My Workout?
When it comes to toning the upper body without limits, no exercise works better than push ups. Unlike lifting weights and performing plyometric workouts, they don’t require expensive fitness equipment, can be performed almost anywhere, and the best part, they’re easy! Relatively speaking, of course.
Benefits of Performing Push-ups Regularly
– Increases muscle density
As you age, your muscle density reduces and alters how your body converts fat into energy. Push ups work well to increase and maintain the muscles of your upper body. This exercise tones your shoulders, chest, triceps, abs, and to a smaller extent the back, biceps, and legs.
– Enhances muscles stability and balance
Doing push ups every day improve the reaction time of your muscle fibers. During push ups, the fibers consistently react to keep your body balanced. This reaction enables these fibers to react faster when stimulated increasing your speed and balance.
– Improves your appearance
Push ups are known to be the most effective workouts in defining your upper body. When you are performing push-ups, your core muscles works well to straighten your back as well as bring your belly towards your spine. Due to this, they sculpt your back, chest, arms as well as shoulders.
– Strengthens your core muscles
Push ups are also known to improve the core strength as well as abs. They work on the muscles around your waist, the abdominal section all the way down to hips. With strong core muscles, you can do a variety of exercises without straining. This also improves your posture.
Push up variations to do at home
1. Standard push ups
Lie on your stomach, keep your feet close and your palms on the floor slightly wider than shoulder width. Using your arms and supporting yourself with the balls of your feet, push the ground away from you to raise your body to a plank position. Lower your torso to the ground by bending your elbows until they achieve a 90-degree angle. Repeat the procedure severally in a steady motion. Aim for 8-10 reps of 3 sets.
2. Clap push ups
Clap push ups are almost similar to standard push-ups. The only difference is, when pushing yourself off the ground, you have to use more power that will get your body high enough so that you can clap your hands and then back to the floor. Repeat the procedure aiming for eight reps of 2 sets.
3. One arm push ups
Just like standard push ups, lower your body to the ground. But this time, one of your hands should be on your back. The point is, you’ll be raising your body using one arm. Also, your legs should be far apart than in standard push ups for more balance. Raise yourself slowly until your right arm is straight. You can then try to lower yourself until the elbow of the arm on the ground is 90 degrees. If successful, repeat the procedure several times aiming for eight reps then change the other arm.
4. Knuckle push ups
Repeat the process in the standard push-up. However, this time, you will be raising yourself off the ground using your knuckles. This workout will require more skill and power in your wrists and arms, so start slowly and build up as you continue.
5. Scorpion push up
Start with standard push up. However, as you lower yourself, bring one of your legs to air and your knees to your back and then to your left of right side depending on the leg you start with. Repeat several sets for your right leg and then change the other leg.
6. Staggered push ups
Position yourself as if you want to do standard push-ups. But this time widen your hands further from your shoulders. Raise yourself off the ground using your palms until your elbows are bent 90 degrees. At this position move to the right and then to the side. Repeat the procedure several times aiming for ten reps of 3 sets.
7. Diamond push ups
Get into a plank position just like when doing other push ups. This time, bring your hands together. Using your fingers, form a diamond pattern. When lowering your body ensure that your elbows brush against your ribs to put some pressure on the back of your arms.
Push ups will give your muscles strength, improve the balance and most importantly, increase the speed of muscle reaction, but won’t build your muscles faster. So, mix your pushups workouts with weight training for better results. My advice is that you invest in adjustable dumbbells. Visit this link to read some reviews of popular adjustable dumbbells. Personally, I use a pair of old-school Powerblocks.
Mistakes to watch out for when doing push ups
• Lowering or raising your butt – Raising or lowering your butt when performing these workouts prevent you from achieving the full range of motion required.
• Not protracting the blades of your shoulders – If you don’t protract your shoulders when doing push-ups, there are high chances you will experience some pain in your back and neck. So, push the blades of your shoulders towards the floor.
• Rotating your hands inward or outward – When performing push-ups, rotating your hands outwards or inwards may strain and injure your wrists. So, ensure that your fingers are pointing forward.
• Not going full range – As mentioned earlier, your elbows should achieve 90 degrees when doing a standard push up and then when raising your body, they should reach 180 degrees. That’s is the full range. If you are too hasty to reach a certain number, there are high chances you won’t be able to achieve the range required. So, go slow.
Push ups are without doubt one of the best workouts for toning your upper body. It will take many days and many reps to build significant muscle and strength using pull ups, but the variations listed above will help you achieve your results even quicker.
Push-ups will give you the strength to engage in other types of training such as strongman, powerlifting, weight lifting, Olympic lifting, and even bodybuilding. They can be used to help put a new spin on your current workout or to kickstart a new venture into attaining better health through physical fitness.
This post was written in part by Sarah G. Ramirez from CyanFitness. Sarah loves to share her expertise on keeping fit and staying healthy. As always, Project Swole’s and Sarah’s tips, advice, and programs are not meant to replace medical advice but to assist and guide you in living a long and healthy lifestyle.