Updated: Aug 11
Although the push-ups are often listed as chest exercises, the push-ups also work your chest muscles (pectoralis major), your shoulders (front deltoids), triceps, your wing muscles directly under the armpit (serratus anterior), your upper back (trapezius), and also your abdominal muscles.
Support your body on your hands and feet, with the hands slightly wider than and in line with the shoulders, keep the arms and legs straight and the feet close together with the weight on the toes.
Lower the body towards the floor by tucking the elbows until the arms form a 45-degree angle to the body and the chest almost touches the floor.
Pause briefly at the bottom, and then push your body back to starting position as fast as possible.
Repeat the exercise for the prescribed number of reps and sets.
During the exercise:
Keep the core and glutes contracted during the whole movement to help keep the body stable and in a straight line from head to heels. If your technique breaks down at any point, stop the set immediately.
If your wrists hurt during the exercise, you can perform the push-ups whilst holding a pair of push-up handles or hexagon dumbbells to keep the wrist straight.
Easier Variation 1: Modified Push-ups
Instead of performing the push-up with your legs straight and body weight supported on your toes, bend the knees and cross the ankles behind the body. This reduces the amount of body weight you have to lift. When you do a standard push-up, you are lifting approximately 75% of your body weight. When you do a modified push-up, you are lifting around 61%.
During the exercise:
· The body should form a straight line between head to knees.
· Keep the core and glutes contracted to keep the body stable.
Easier Variation 2: Incline Push-up
Instead of performing the push-up with your hands on the floor, place them on a bench, box, or any other higher surface. The higher the surface and the more upright your body is, the less bodyweight you have to lift, making the push-up easier. As you get stronger, slowly lower the incline to lift more of your body weight.
Thanks for reading, and as always stay fit!
Suprak, D. N., Dawes, J., & Stephenson, M. D. (2011). The effect of position on the percentage of body mass supported during traditional and modified push-up variants. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 25(2), 497-503.