Push-ups aren’t just for those super athletic sorts you see on TV or films. These exercises are an effective and cheap way to hone your upper body.
No other movement is quite as effective at strengthening your chest, deltoids, lower back and triceps as the good old push-up. When done perfectly push-up’s controlled movements offer three types of muscle-building resistance (isometric, concenctric and eccentric) whilst getting all the muscles to work together.
What follows are details on how to perform push-ups correctly:
1. Lie flat on your chest, legs together, with your hand palms flat on the ground next to your shoulder, slightly in excess of your shoulder width. Your only your toes should be curled round and flat on the floor so as to soon be able to take the weight of your body.
2. Look forward, not down towards the floor. Ensure that only your chin is the part of your face that may touch the floor.
3. Keeping your whole body rigid/ straight you then need to straighten your arms so as to elevate your body off the floor. Aim not to arch your back or bend your legs.
4. When your arms start to straighten up exhale the air from your lungs.
5. Take a moment to pause whilst at the highest position possible.
6. Using your arms, lower your body slowly to the floor. As you bend your arms remember to keep your palms in a fixed position on the floor. As usual your body must be kept straight in a rigid fashion, legs and feet together.
7. Keep lowering your body right until your chest touches the floor. Try not to let your back arch. Your knees should not make contact with the floor. As you bend your arms breathe in.
8. Take a moment to pause, then begin the whole process again to perform the second push-up. Start to straighten your arms and exhale as you rise.
Modifications and things to be aware of:
If you want to make the push-ups easier rest your knees on the ground at all times, and/ or have an exercise partner place their fist on the ground below your chest to stop you lowering your body as far.
A variation on this exercise is to perform it whilst leaning against a vertical wall. This is called the ‘incline push-up’.
Importantly, if you have any physical ailments that hinder this exercise in any way stop engaging in physical exercise and seek professional medical advice on the situation.