Push ups are pretty much the gold standard exercise in the fitness world. There's probably no one who doesn't know what they are or has never done them.
Push ups are simple, but efficient and there are a million ways to adjust them to your fitness level. You can make them easier (bringing your knees down, keeping theupper body elevated) or harder (one leg lifted, legs elevated, even clapping your hands together after pushing yourself up from the floor).
There are numerous variations of push ups. Even the regular push ups are a great exercise, targeting mostly the upper body – the chest, biceps, triceps and upper back, but keeping your torso engaged all the time means that also your abs and back work hard.
Why push ups?
– Push ups target many muscle groups at the same time. They work most on your chest, arms, upper back and core, but also lower back and legs. You get a lot done with just one motion.
– It's a really simple exercise. No special coordination skills required.
– A regular push up, just like many variations of it, don't call any equipment at all. You just need your own body weight which means that you can do them anywhere you go.
– Push ups are a great alternative to chest press and bench press. If you are training hard and lifting heavy stuff on the bench, throw in some push ups for some more variety. It's almost exactly the same movement.
– There's a lot of variation, from having your upper body elevated to make the exercise easier, or lifting your legs up for some more challenge. Or in case you are a real badass, you do a handstand push up.
I'm not quite there yet. Actually, I have pretty long way to go to do a handstand pushup, but I'm pretty sure that I will work my way up there one day. Until then, I do other push up variations. One of my favorites is kick through push up.
This exercise adds some serious lower body work to a regular push up, targeting also legs and lower abs. Because you have to be able to keep your balance, you make all your deep core muscles work hard.
It's a whole body exercise just like burpees and I love them. I try to incorporate them into my workouts at least couple of times a week.
1. Start from a plank position on your straight arms. Your hands are on the floor just underneath your shoulders – there should be a straight line from up to down. Your fingers look forward. Keep your body in one straight line and your core strong.
2. From this position, lower your arms as low as you can.
3. Then push yourself up to straight arms to plank position again.
4. Bend your right knee and bring it to your side.
5. Lift your right arm and start bringing your left leg from under your body.
6. Straighten your left leg as you make the kicking move to the air.
7. Start bringing your left leg back from under your body.
8. Place your left leg and right hand down.
9. Bring the right leg back to starting position.
What's the whole body exercise you love the most?
Are push ups part of your workout routine?