I Love Love Love Push-ups!

I absolutely love push-ups. Many of my clients will tell you I incorporate them into workouts all the time. What many people do not know is that they are most often a chest exercise and not an arm exercise.  Push-ups are one of those exercises that can be modified to be doable and challenging for everybody. And every time you do them you get a little bit better, which is great for the ego and keeping your spirits up when you are feeling less than strong or capable.

There are so many variations for push-ups nearly anyone could do some right now, go ahead and try one of these.

Incline Push-up for Beginners:  It’s a regular push-up but done using a wall, box, bench, or bar. Keep your hands under your shoulders and spread those fingers. The angle of your push-up will vary depending on what you use and you can adjust it as your skill improves. Eventually you will be ready for modified push-ups on the floor!

Push-ups on Your Knees: There is no such thing as a girl push-up. These are push-ups for the person who hasn’t done push-ups in a while. On the floor with hands under your shoulders, and belly tight, bring your knees together and lift your feet off of the ground.  It’s a regular push-up with a little less commitment.

Core Push-ups: This is a regular push-up but one that uses an uneven or unstable surface instead of the sturdy floor.  You can change the height of one of your hands; maybe put a couple books under your hand. You can use the squishy blue side of a BOSU, balance both hands on a medicine ball, or place your hands on the edge of the black side of the BOSU. These push-up variations require a strong core and balance. Keeping your eyes focused on something will help with the balance and you will not be able to go down as far as you can with the standard push-up~ at first. You can always start these on your knees and then go to your toes as you get more advanced.

One Armed Push-ups: Remember in the movie GI Jane when Demi Moore does one armed push-ups? My client Danielle can do that too, I’m still working on it.  These are very challenging and very rewarding when you finally get it. Keep the hand on the floor right under your shoulder and keep your belly tight the entire time. You will have to practice shifting your weight and slowly controlling your descent.  This one is tricky because if you lose your strength your face will eat the floor. Maybe keep your free hand hugged to your chest in case of emergency, to break your fall.

Remember that these are chest exercises and that is one of your largest muscle groups. Use that muscle and have faith that you are stronger than you might think.


Meggan Sullivan