Highlighting important facts about push-ups, and how you can incorporate the exercise as part of your fitness routine to build a stronger upper body.
A staple of bodyweight training, push-ups are regarded as the holy grail of exercise when it comes to upper body strength. Being one of the most effective exercises known to man, push-ups work your chest, triceps, core and to a certain extent, glutes, quads, and small stabiliser muscles in your upper back.
What’s even better is that this exercise can be adapted into several variations which come together to form challenging routines that target your entire upper body as a whole. Here are a few push-up need-to-knows, which detail the progression from a traditional push-up to other challenging variations. Behold!
Locking Down the Basics
Placing your arms shoulder-width apart and palms firmly rooted to the ground, bend your arms, lowering your chest to the floor while keeping your body straight. Once your chest is close enough to touch the floor, push yourself back up to the start position. That’s one repetition.
Additionally, ensure that your elbows are at a 45° angle from your body, and that your arms are bent at a 90° angle when lowering your body. If a traditional push-up is too difficult to perform, then start by doing a push-up on your knees or against a wall. Don’t rush, take your time with it!
Taking Difficulty up a Notch, or Two
As your muscles adapt and improve functionality during workouts, the risk of your body plateauing increases. A plateau refers to the body’s inability to being challenged after doing the same exercise daily over a period of time. Therefore, it is important to continuously challenge our bodies using exercise variations in order to improve muscular strength and overall fitness. Put that body to work, y’all!
One exercise that is guaranteed to challenge your body as you progress are clap push-ups. This push-up variation offers the challenge of an explosive plyometric movement during chest day which will get your upper body burning. To perform this variation start off in a plank position and perform a full push-up, but instead of pressing up like how you would with a traditional push-up, use your upper body strength to explode upward, clapping your hands as they leave the floor. Be sure to land softly on your elbows, as the whole weight of your upper body will rest solely on them during the bottom half of the movement.
More advanced in nature as compared to clap push-ups, Superman push-ups are also a great way to challenge your body’s muscular power and speed. To do this push-up, start in a traditional position and lower your body. As you’re pressing back up, push hard off the floor, lifting your body in mid-air. The main goal is to try and get your biceps by your ears when reaching out with your arms. Also, as this exercise puts additional impact on your wrists, make sure to stretch them before and after your workout in order to avoid long-term injury. Any injury to your wrists might set your push-up workout plan back by weeks, maybe even months. Yikes!
Putting a Routine Together
When creating a push-up workout plan to hit all the target muscles in your upper body, several methods which can help you achieve hypertrophy are available. One of these methods is called the “Juarez Valley Method”. Consisting of 20 sets, it involves a decrease of one repetition for the first 10 sets and an increase of one repetition for the following 10 sets. For example, on Set 1, 20 reps are performed and on Set 2, 19 reps are performed. On the contrary, for Set 11, 1 rep is performed and on Set 12, 2 reps are performed. Fret not, you’ll get the hang of it in no time.
Another cool plan that can be incorporated on chest days, is called “Greasing the Groove”. This refers to a method that allows you to perform as many repetitions of a push-up variation as you can, based on the number of hours that you are awake for. For example, if you are awake for 12 hours a day, and have a goal of killin’ 10 repetitions per variation every 30 minutes, that’s a total of 240 push-ups per day, yo!
Many of us out there don’t see the changes we want after committing to a long-term push-up workout plan. You wanna know why? Coz we don’t do it right! Focusing on proper form and technique, combined with the consistent challenging of the muscles in your body, will only allow you to build muscular strength and size. That’s not all, it also helps prevent your joints and muscles from overstraining or injury. Now go out there and kill it, champs!