The Push Up may be “old school” but when it comes to an exercise proven to build strong chest, arm and abdominal muscles, you need not look any further. The list of muscles used when doing a Push Up is impressive. I personally have a love/hate relationship going with Push Ups, in that I hate doing them but love what they do for me.
A Push Up seems like a simple exercise to master however it is not a movement which comes naturally for some. I’m always amazed and sometimes amused at the incredible and different variations people can come up with. Whilst fun to watch, doing them incorrectly will lead to injury (particularly lower back strain) and drastically reduce their effectiveness. In this short video Coach Kieran shows you the correct way to do a Push Up giving you an advanced and beginner version.
Benefits of the Push-Up
- Build a strong upper body – doing Push Ups on a regular basis will strengthen, tone and build the major muscles involved in the movement. You will greater muscle capacity and look to the muscles of your chest, arms, shoulders and abdominals by regularly doing the Push-Up.
- Strengthens your Core – we normally think of a Push Up for improving chest muscles but it does much more. Due to the position, you need to hold to do them properly they are a great exercise for strengthening the muscles of your core. Core muscles include your back, gluteals and abdominals.
- Improves posture -having better posture is good for your energy levels, your digestion, your spine and joints and reduces wear and tear overall. Plus you look so much better when standing tall and straight.
- Make you happy – feeling physically fit improves your self-confidence like nothing else. Physical activity like a Push Up releases a cascade of hormones known as ‘feel good’ hormones. They bust stress and generate feelings of optimism and happiness.
- Do them anywhere – one of the best things about the Push Up is you don’t need any equipment at all, and you can do them anywhere. All you need is a floor and if you don’t have a floor you have greater things to worry about than doing Push Ups!
- Strong bones – it is clear that weight-bearing activity like the Push Up encourages bones to absorb nutrients to make themselves stronger. It is an easy connection to understand and works for most of the body’s systems. If the body, in this case, your bones, are placed under a stress it will adapt to this stress to make it easier to do next time, get stronger bones and muscles.
Brian’s Coaching Tips for doing a Push-Up
- When down on the ground, set your hands at a distance that is slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Move your hands around so you are in a comfortable position. I like to have my hands slightly inward as it is less stressful on your wrists.
- Set your feet right. Again it is about being comfortable in the start position. For some feet are wide, some they are together, it is all about feeling stable and supported; you decide.
- Think of your body as one giant straight line – don’t have your bottom sticking up.
- Clench – switching on your gluteal muscles (your butt) by clenching them and tightening your abdominals muscles by pulling them in, will engage your core. This action is one most people forget, or have never been told, to do and it makes a huge difference.
- Head slightly ahead – rule here is your chin, not your nose should be the first part of your head to touch the floor.
- Top position- at the start your arms should be straight and be supporting your weight, you’re ready to do a Push-Up
Doing a Push-Up
- Arms straight, abdominals braced and your bottom clenched, slowly lower yourself by bending at your elbows. Depending on your age, strength, experience aim to get your chest as close to the ground as possible. Personally, I like to go until my chest just touches the ground that way I have a measure the consistency of each rep. (so I can’t cheat)
- Let your elbows be close to your body and try to not let them fly out too far from your body
- Once your chest touches the floor, slight pause and push back hard and fast to the start position.
- Well Done! One perfect Push Up done.
Push Ups are for everyone!