Push ups are one of the best upper body exercises you can do. They are one of those proven-to-be-good, old school exercises that I continuously keep rotating in my exercise routine.
They are simple, they work well and they are excuse-free. This means that they can be performed pretty much anywhere, in a minimum amount of time.
Push ups, just like other bodyweight exercises, are also great because there are lots of variations available. There is something for everyone: For the ones who are not yet ready for regular push ups, as well as for the ones who are mastering the regular push ups but want to keep their workouts more challenging.
I do a lot of push ups, but to not to let things get boring, I change things up a bit once in a while. For example, I can do that simply by varying the position of my hands. That's enough to put a little more load on muscles that don't get that much attention in push ups.
Bringing some variation into your regular workout routine is good for several reasons:
- It helps to keep the workouts more interesting.
- Little changes and adjustments allow you to target slightly different muscle groups.
- By using different variations, you keep your body guessing. If your body is used to the same amount of reps done exact same way, your progress may slow down.
- It may help you to get over plateau – if you haven't seen results in a long time, just making a slight change in your position (or number of reps or sets) can go a long way.
Push ups target mostly chest muscles. Let's talk about what strong chest muscles are good for.
Why Strengthen Chest Your Muscles?
Chest muscles are one of the largest muscle groups in the upper body. This muscle group is responsible for the majority of your upper body’s pushing movements.
Here's why it's good to build some strength :
- They help you to maintain a nicer posture.
- Strong chest muscles help you in everyday life. Every time you push a heavy door or mow the lawn, you not only use your arm and shoulder muscles, but also the ones of your chest.
- You will look nicer. Regardless if you are a man or a woman, you may want to add a little bulk to this area, right? Right.
To do that, do push ups.
By doing push ups you also strengthen your core by squeezing you abs tightly and not allowing those hips to sink. Squeeze your butt and you have created a great full body exercise.
Every time you perform a push up, no matter if it's a regular or more advanced version, remember to keep your body in a nice long line from head to toes. If you are keeping your knees down, there should be a long line from your head to knees.
Make sure to maintain the same nice form throughout the routine. Aim to do five push ups with a nice form and controlled technique, instead of 20 with sloppy form and bad technique.
Here are three push up variations that I love. Compared to regular wide push ups, they target my muscles from a slightly different angle and won't let me get bored doing the same exercise.
Diamond Push Ups
Diamond push ups put a lot of focus on your triceps. They are far more beneficial than some exercises that are supposed to be the best exercises for triceps – for example, triceps extensions.
Diamond Push Ups also help you get more definition in your chest and arms.
How To Perform Diamond Push Ups:
1. In a plank position, place your hands on the floor right under your chest. Your thumbs as well as your pointer fingers should be together, making a diamond shape.
2. Keep the elbows close to your body. Think of your hands as “screwed” into the ground, helps find the right position.
3. Lower your body as much as you can, keeping the elbows in, then push yourself back up.
Start out with 3 rounds of Diamond Push Ups, 5 reps in each round.
Medicine Ball Roll Over Push Up
You can use Medicine Ball Roll Over Push Ups to put different loads on your arms, making it more challenging for one arm at a time.
In a Medicine Ball Push Up, the arms will be on different levels – one on the medicine ball and the other one on the ground. The idea is to put as little load as possible on the arm that is on the ground and as much as possible to the one that is on the ball.
Medicine Ball Push Ups force you to keep your balance, so they are also a great core workout.
How To Perform Medicine Ball Roll Over Push Ups:
1. In a push up position, place one hand on a medicine ball and the other one on the ground.
2. Do a push up by putting more load on the elevated arm. As soon you have pushed yourself up, roll the ball over to another side. Put your other hand on the ball, bring the weight to the elevated arm and do a push up.
Start out with 3 rounds of Medicine Ball Roll Over Push Ups. One round consists of 3 reps for each side.
Resistance Band Push Up
A Resistance Band Push Up is a harder version of a regular push up. The hardest part of a regular push up is the first phase of pushing yourself up from the floor. It's getting easier towards the end as your arms are extending and you are getting back into the starting position.
In Resistance Band Push Ups you will exert more effort at the end phase of the push, because this is the phase where the band applies the most resistance to your body. When you are in your lowest position, the band is looser and gets tighter as you are coming up.
How To Perform Resistance Band Push Ups:
1. Wrap a resistance band around your upper back.
2. Get into a push up position, lower your body as much as you can. Do a push up.
Start out with 3 rounds of Resistance Band Push Ups, 5 reps in each round.
Push Ups are a great exercise that targets mostly chest muscles, but recruit also the core and arms. There are many options on how to make them more interesting to your body and mind, so make sure you get some variation to your routine.