Push-ups are an effective form of strength training exercise, great for strengthening your core and upper body. They also have the added benefit of requiring little space and no specialized equipment.
However, push-ups can be challenging for beginners, since they require a certain amount of core muscle strength. It’s important to maintain stability around the spine during a push-up, as only then can you use your arms and shoulders properly.
Trainers often recommend doing modified push-ups for at least 4-6 weeks before graduating to a full-blown push-up regimen. This is because using proper form and technique is crucial to avoid joint strain and injury.For beginners, start with 2 sets of 5-6 push-ups a day, resting for one minute between sets. Gradually increase the number of reps and sets as you grow stronger.
4 benefits of doing push-ups
- Stabilizes your core: The primary advantage of push-ups is that they strengthen and stabilize your core muscles around your abdomen, spine, and pelvis. Core muscles include the transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, internal and external obliques, erector spinae, diaphragm, pelvic floor muscles, and gluteus muscles. Training these muscles helps support your spine, which helps you maintain good posture, develop better balance and mobility, and avoid back pain.
- Strengthens your upper body: Push-ups work out your pectoral, deltoid, and triceps muscles, which helps with the development of the upper body strength.
- Easy to modify: Push-ups can be modified to suit both beginners and advanced fitness fanatics. You can adjust the angle of your body and hand placement to ease or intensify push-up workout.
- Promotes weight loss: You can burn about 30-50 calories with 100 push-ups. While this may not sound like much, push-ups increase your basal metabolic rate and can help you reach your weight loss goal in the long term.
How to do an effective push-up
As mentioned before, effective push-ups involve:
- Warm up sessions
- Correct form
- Optimal reps and sets
- Cool down sessions
To warm up before a push-up, pull your shoulders back and stick your chest out, holding the pose for 15 seconds. Switch arms and repeat 3 times.
To do a push-up properly:
- Start by lying face down on the floor mat, with your hands placed slightly wider than shoulder width.
- Press your hands into the floor with your fingers pointed away from your feet.
- Lift up, keeping your body in a straight line from head to toe.
- Keep your back straight and your weight evenly distributed.
- Steadily lower yourself until your elbows are roughly at a 90 degree angle and your chin or chest almost touches the floor.
- Contract your thigh and butt muscles as you slowly lower your body toward the floor.
- Keep your elbows near your body throughout the movements.
- Press back up to the starting position. Try to take 2 seconds to go down and 1 second to go up.
- This is one push-up.
After completing your push-up workout, cool down with light jogging or walking and stretching your upper body.
What are modified push-ups?
If you find regular push-ups too intense, you can do a modified push-up from your hands and knees or push-ups on an incline where you place your hands on a wall and lean forward at a 45 degree angle. These forms can be best explained by your fitness instructor.
With a regular push-up, you lift about 50%-75% of your body weight, while modifications like knee and inclined push-ups use about 36%-45% of your body weight.
What are the risks of doing push-ups?
Push-ups are an intense workout and best performed under the supervision of a trained fitness instructor.
You may be surprised how much a sedentary lifestyle, excess weight, and poor diet choices can weaken your core muscles, making it important to start slow and build up strength gradually. If you suffer from heart disease, severe arthritis, or spinal disc prolapse, always consult your physician before you initiate any exercise regimen.
Risks of push-ups include:
- Muscle injury: If done incorrectly, push-ups can strain your shoulder muscles and cause muscle injury or wrist pain. Make sure to take breaks and rest between workouts to allow your body to repair itself.
- Muscle stiffness: Improper engagement of core muscles or overexertion can cause stiffness in shoulders and wrists.
- Heart disease complications: If you suffer from ischemic heart disease, intense physical exertion can trigger an episode of angina or another heart attack.
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What Are Push-Ups For?Push-ups are a staple upper body exercise targeting multiple joints and muscle groups, mainly the pectoral (chest) muscles, shoulders, triceps, core muscles, glutes (muscles in the buttocks), and legs. This exercise is done in the prone position by alternately lowering and raising the body to and from the floor with the arms, toes, and palms resting on the floor. It is a free and versatile exercise that requires no mechanical equipment. It is done in combination with various exercises to build upper body strength.
What Are the Muscles in the Arms?The arm is the part of the upper extremity between the shoulder joint and the elbow joint. It has a bone called the humerus, which is attached to the trunk with the help of the shoulder blade (scapula). The joint between the scapula (shoulder blade) and humerus is called the glenohumeral joint.
What Is the Best Workout for the Upper Body?Your upper body is grouped into the muscles that support the upper spine and shoulder blade and the muscles of the hands, forearms, upper arm, and shoulder. Upper body workouts strengthen your arms, shoulders, and back, helping you achieve a good posture and co-ordination. Having a strong upper body improves your flexibility and range of motion and is also aesthetically appealing.
What Is the Most Effective Core Exercise?The core is a collection of muscles that stabilize, rotate and move the spine. A healthy core translates into a stronger lower back and better balance. The most effective core exercises are dead bug, side plank, front plant, vertical leg crunches, flutter kicks, Russian twists and the hollow body hold and hang.