Push up – a good exercise

Your body is lowered to the floor, and then you push yourself back up. However, if done correctly, bodyweight exercises may help you gain considerable strength. ACE-certified personal trainer and CrossFit level 1 trainer Amanda Capritto says you will see this technique in a number of exercises such as HIIT, CrossFit, circuit training and strength-training programmes. Learn why push-ups are so effective and how to include them into your training regimen, no matter your fitness level, by reading on.

When it comes to pushups, most people think of them as upper-body exercises, yet they train the entire body. Lisa Toscano, EdD, professor of kinesiology at Manhattan College in the Bronx, says you will develop your arms, chest, and back muscles, as well as your abdominal muscles and quadriceps (the huge muscles on the front of your legs). The arms, chest, and back help in the up-and-down action, while the latter two muscular groups serve as stabilisers.

Push-ups also work the pectoralis major (chest muscle), anterior deltoids (shoulders), triceps, biceps, rhomboids (upper-back muscles that link your spine to your shoulder blades), and trapezius (upper-back muscles that connect your spine to your shoulders) (the muscle bundle that extends from the back of your head and neck).

As well as the serratus anterior (the fan-shaped muscle on the top of your ribs) and coracobrachialis (a long, slender muscle in the upper arm), the core is also worked by this exercise, says Dylan Craig.

As Capritto points out, you might hurt yourself when doing pushups if you take on too much too fast. You may do box pushups on the floor, knee pushups, or standing wall press ups (more on how to do these variants below) as a starting point if you are new to the exercise, she suggests. Beginners often must alter push-ups for months or years before they can safely go to a conventional push-up, adds Dr. Weir. With updated versions, you are gaining a lot of strength.

Pregnant women should also perform box or knee push-ups (see below for details) or standing push-ups against a wall to reduce abdominal tension, Capritto advises. To prevent re-injury or worsening of a current injury, Capritto suggests consulting a licenced trainer, physical therapist or other healthcare expert.

Start with one to three push-up sets each week, says Capritto. As an alternative to the complete, classic push-up, try modified push-ups. You can start with box pushups or knee pushups if you need to adjust the exercise (instructions below). In addition, she argues, modifications make the action safer for novices since they help improve core and shoulder strength. They also allow beginners to collect greater volume and build toward strength and physical endurance, he says.

“Regular push-ups” can be attempted if you have completed three sets of 5 to 10 modified push-ups with the right form, Capritto recommends. “Even if it is just one,” she advises. “Start with as many as you can do with proper form.” Switch back to modified push-ups whenever your form starts to falter and finish the set.

It is important to keep in mind that most people increase their ability to do push-ups slowly. You may only be able to do one traditional push-up in each set each week as you switch from modified to no modified push-ups, Capritto says.

Correct technique is key to getting the most out of push-ups in your workout. As Capritto explains, “if you perform these exercises correctly, you will engage the targeted muscles and reduce your chance of injury.”

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