Do you dread doing push-ups? Do you think you will never be able to do it? Don’t worry; you are not alone. Everyone dreads this upper body exercise. But if you are cheating on your pushups while upper body workouts, then probably cheating yourself on an amazing upper body strength exercise for beginners.
A push-up is an amazing upper body strengthening exercise that you can do anywhere- and you don’t even need any equipment. Doing pushups means you are working on your whole upper body.
Push-ups targets the following muscles in your body
- Shoulder muscles
- Chest muscles
- Your triceps or back muscles of your arm
- Armpit muscles or serratus anterior
If you are struggling to do push-ups then read on to know how to succeed at your first push-up.
How to do a push-up?
- Start with a high plank with your hands shoulder-width apart and slightly placed inwards. Your hands should be stacked beneath the shoulder. Keep your feet together, core tight, and back flat.
- Slowly lower your body while maintaining your torso rigid. Keep your head in alignment with your spine; do not let your head hang. Make sure that your lower back and hips are straight, not hunched down or up.
- Keep lowering yourself until your chest or your chin meets the floor. Your elbows might be outstretched while you lower down.
- While going up, press your arms hard until you are back in the high plank position.
- Then repeat again the downward movement. You can start with four or five pushups or how many you can do in a correct posture and slowly build your way up.
Repeat this as much as you can as per your comfort.
Tip while performing push ups:
- While performing pushups it is important to keep your back straight and core engaged.
- Keep your butt down.
- Your body should be streamlined. Make sure to spread your finger as wide as you can to avoid extra pressure on your wrist.
If you are a beginner then probably it is better to go through other push-up variations before practicing the standard pushups.
Here are some push-up variants you can try out at home.
1. Knee push-ups
- Come down on your all fours keeping your neck neutral.
- Walk your hands forward until your body comes in a streamline from your shoulder to your knees.
- Keep your wrist stacked underneath your shoulder and spread your fingers wide as you can to avoid pressure on your wrist. Roll onto your knee to protect your knee cap.
- Keep your elbow slightly bent and lower your body until your chest meets the floor. Keep your core engaged.
- Push your arms to come back to the starting position.
- Repeat two to three sets of this push-up as this is the easiest push-up variant.
Knee pushups are one of the best upper chest pushups for beginners as it targets your chest and shoulder muscles.
2. Incline push-ups
- To practice this push-up you require a bench, table, or a couch. Now put your hand on a table with your legs outstretched behind you to get that high plank position.
- Keep your hands slightly wider than your shoulder.
- Now keep your body straight and your elbow close to your body lower down your body.
- When your chest touches the table or couch push and straightens your arms to return to your starting position.
- Repeat two to three sets of it.
Incline push-ups target your arm muscles and build strength in them; hence it is an effective arm exercise without weight.
3. Decline push-ups
- Start in a plank position and place your feet on a bench.
- Keeping your core tight, bend your elbow, and lower your body. Keep lowering it until your chest meets the floor and try to keep your elbows slightly pointed back.
- Now push hard and immediately straighten your elbow to return to the starting position.
- Repeat as much as you can according to your comfort.
Incline pushups are of an intermediate level that focuses on your shoulder and chest muscles. So you can practice these pushups for the upper body.
4. Plyometric push-ups
- To practice, plyometric pushups start in a high plank position keeping your wrist stacked beneath your shoulder and neck neutral.
- Keeping your abdominal muscles engaged start lowering down your body until your chest or chin grazes the floor.
- Now immediately push your body back and straighten your elbows and return to your starting position; use the force to keep your upper body through your arms and clap.
- Then return back gently to the floor and lower your chest for the next repetition. As you come up add a clap again to your push-up, to keep up with the difficulty level.
- You can repeat as much according to your comfort level.
The plyometric push-up is an advanced level of push-up. One should only attempt this push-up if you are confident enough in your upper body strength.
Doing pushups at the beginning can be very daunting, yet it is an integral part of an upper body workout at home. It is very effective in building strength and muscles. And, you can practice it in varied ways.