Improve Your Push-Ups

Photo Credit: Super Ralf CC-BY-SA-3.0

The basic push-up is a great exercise to strengthen the shoulders, arms and back. Military physical tests include push-ups as a measure of fitness and strength. The basic push-up is performed with the body weight supported by the palms and the toes with the body in a stiff, straight line from head to heel. Keep your elbows under your shoulders. Lower your upper chest toward the floor, stopping about 1 to 2 inches from the floor and then push back up from the floor using your arms. Once you are strong enough to perform 75 to 100 push-ups, try some variations to improve the effectiveness of your push-up workout. 
In the start position, place one ankle over the other so that your body weight is resting on the toes of one foot. Perform 50 repetitions and then switch your feet so that your weight is now resting on the toes of the other foot. Repeat 50 more repetitions. 
The torso rotation push-up is a strenuous upper body workout. From the start position for the basic push-up, rotate your upper body to the left as you push up and lift your left arm upward over your head. Your upper body should form a “T” shape so that the front of your body is facing left. Bring your arm back to the floor as you rotate your torso back to the start position. Repeat on the right side.
The plank-style push-up will increase your core strength and stability, as well as workout your arms and chest. Place your forearms on the floor instead of your palms. Hold your body straight for about 10 seconds and then lower your body just a few inches. Push back up and hold for another 10 seconds. 
Elevate your feet on a bench for a powerful push-up workout. Use a low bench or foot stool in the beginning and move up to a regular height bench once you can do 50 to 75 elevated push-ups. Keep your palms under your shoulders for stability.

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