One of the most frequently seen training mistakes, from rookies and seasoned veterans, is neglecting the value of body-weight workouts. It’s not hard to be seduced by machines and gadgets and their false promises of maximal muscle mass gain for little effort. And then, sure there’s the ego, that noisy know-nothing know-it-all that requires that we showcase our power with stunning feats involving knurled steel barbells and heavy to lift iron plates.
Yet, when done properly, bodyweight workouts can lead to significant gains in size, strength, and mobility. Take the push-up as an example, arguably the most basic of all strength-training form of exercises.
Push-ups improve the arms, shoulders, chest and core. They also do a great job of enhancing what we fitness experts refer to as “dynamic scapular stability” – the ability to put your shoulder blades in the correct position and control them while the arms move freely. I know it sounds like fancy fitness-speak, but if you want strong, healthy shoulders, developing scapular stability is a must element.
Right now, you’re probably struggling with a question: If they’re such a killer exercise, why do I never see anyone doing push-ups at the gym location? Aside from the aforementioned reliance upon equipments and the ego-focused quest for big bench-press numbers; push-ups get no love for one simple reason: they are hard to do!
Do you agree? Can you give me 20 pushups? If you handled that – than our congratulations! According to the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, your muscular tissues endurance classification is somewhere between Fair and Very Good, basing on your age and gender. At the moment, this assumes you executed each of these push-ups with pristine form. As someone who has spent years training aspiring athletes and ordinary folks, we’re here to say you most likely did not. It’s time to fix!
Hand positioning is where most of people fail or find it hard to place correctly. Too wide and you risk hurting your shoulders; too narrow, and the triceps – those muscle tissues on the back of your arms – take on the big part of the work. Place your hands to be inline or just outside of your shoulders, whichever feels more comfortable.
Another frequently seen mistake is flaring the elbows out to the side. This may feel normal, but over time your joints will pay the cost. To decrease any needless strain, rotate your upper arms so your elbows point backward at something close to a 45-degree angle. Yes, this makes the workout harder. It also makes it more productive.
Last but not least, you want some tension. Squeeze your buttocks muscles as tight as you can while concurrently pulling your kneecaps towards your hips and bracing your abs as if you were about to take a punch to the gut. This links the upper and lower body into a single solid unit.
How to do
How to execute – place hands under your shoulders, arms extended, elbows pointing backward, butt tight, abs braced. Now it’s time for some fun! With your eyes concentrated on the floor, take a deep breath into your belly while lowering your upper body. Once your upper arms are in line with your ribs, stop and push the floor away as hard as possible while exhaling with force. That’s one repetition and you are required to repeat until your arms become powerless as noodles – just make sure to keep your heels, hips, and shoulders in placement throughout the movement and you will be good to go.
Improvements and added challenges
Regardless of what generations of sadistic, whistle-blowing and training teachers would have you believe, push-ups are not a learner workout. Simply position your hands on an elevated surface like a bench of a table. The steeper the incline, the easier you will get them. Note that kneeling variations - are not push-ups.
Once you got 20 reps, you’re ready to grow to some more complex variations. Elevating your feet is practical way to boost the pushups challenge. Try strapping on a weighted vest or managing a weight plate on your back. Paul Landini is a personal trainer and health expert at the Toronto West End College Street YMCA and a striking coach at Black Devil MMA.