Push-ups, also known as press-ups, are well known as a simple but challenging exercise for those with already developed muscles. However, they are also ideal for beginners who want some muscle definition in their arms or an improvement in core strength. They are perfect for busy people with hardly any time to devote to fitness. There are many benefits of doing push-ups, and several variations that you can easily try at home.
Push-ups are a convenient and universal exercise, using the weight of your own body to strengthen and tone a variety of muscles, especially the core muscles involved in the balance and support of the rest of the body. Push-ups also help to improve your cardio fitness and burn fat. As with all exercises, it is important to be cautious and not do too many at first, but push-ups are ideal for learning because you can do as few or as many as you are comfortable with.
Some of the numerous benefits of push-ups are:
- No equipment or expensive gym memberships are required.
- They can be done anywhere, anytime.The heart rate is increased, burning calories.
- Muscles are strengthened and toned.
- You can easily feel the muscles working, and notice improvement by the continually increasing number of push-ups you are able to do over time.
- Bone density can be improved because push-ups are a resistance exercise.
- It will only take a few minutes each day
The amount and type of push-ups are up to you, according to your fitness level and goals.A wide group of muscles is targeted in the following areas: fingers, hands, wrists, forearms, upper arms, shoulders, chest, abdominals, upper and lower back, glutes, upper and lower legs, ankles and feet.Beginners often choose to hold their weight on their knees as well as their hands, whereas more experienced people can balance on their feet with their legs straight and push more weight. Besides the regular push-ups with the wrists directly under the shoulders, there are many variations that you can try as your ability and confidence develop. They can be useful if you want to target a slightly different assortment of muscles or experience a new and interesting challenge if the original type gets boring.
- Wide arm push-ups are where you move your hands outwards into a wider position. You will feel the difference even with this small change.
- The diamond version requires your hands to be touching each other, with thumbs and forefingers stretched in mirror image to make a diamond shape between them. This is used to work on the triceps.
- For the front clap push-up you push yourself up, take your hands off the ground and clap before quickly resuming the original position and letting your body down. This is quite a challenge to keep up.
- The elevated push-up is where your feet are up on a low bench, exercise ball or chair, and your weight is tipped forward. Alternatively you could keep your feet on the ground and raise your hands on a step or bench, and really give those muscles a shock.
Experts sometimes do the difficult and showy one arm variation where one arm is held behind the back and the push-up is done with one hand on the ground only.The best thing about push-ups is that while they are singularly effective, they are easy and can be learned and used well with regular practice in only a few minutes a day. You can control your own pace and choose where and when to slip a few push-ups into your day. The sense of accomplishment and pride in being able to do them is beneficial too, because feeling good about yourself is most important of all.
Check out this short video here with Green Apple Active Advocate Jill Brown shows you a quick push-up workout you can do at home.