Hi Friends of Oompf! fitness,
This is Alvan. Today I would like to talk about push ups. The Push-Up is a classic upper body compound exercise. What does it train? It is totally bodyweight reliant so you can actually do push ups anywhere and it trains so many parts of the upper body :
– The chest or pectorals
– The shoulders or deltoids
– The serratus anterior, muscles below your armpit (especially relevant for ladies!). The movement of the push up calls for the shoulder blades to separate and protract at the top, which activates the serratus anterior muscles
– Triceps, back of your arms
– Abdominals as you have to engage by pulling in your abs during the exercise
Push ups are very effective for building upper body strength. You can also increase your muscle size and strength when you do push ups. As the push up needs strength in the movement, you can also build endurance by increasing the reps and sets or simply stay and hold the push up position for 30s, increasing to 60s and more as you get stronger. It is hard, but effective training to build strength!
HOW TO DO A PROPER PUSH UP
Points to note for proper form :
1. The body must be in total straight line position. Extend the legs fully.
2. The hands at shoulder width apart must be firmly anchored on the ground, pushing the floor away, palms flat on the ground with fingers facing forward to prevent wrist injury.
3. Tuck in your abs at all times, and tilt your hips anteriorly ie. do not stick your butt out and up, or let your lower back sag.
4. Your neck should be in neutral alignment with the head in a straight line with the spine, eyes to the floor, and the top of your head pointed at the opposite wall.
5. The movement as you lower yourself down and push yourself up must be done “in one plane” ie. your whole body moves at the same time.
When done properly, the push up is an intensely challenging exercise hence it is very effective to build strength and endurance.
If traditional push ups are too difficult, modify them by i.e doing them on your knees, on an incline position or even wall.
If push ups are hard on the wrist, see a physiotherapist regarding this issue. They may recommend doing the push ups with a push up bar (wrist in neutral position) or a dolphin push up (on your forearms instead).
Try these at home : start with any number you can manage, then gradually increasing, say from 5 to 10, to 15, 20 in one set. Repeat 3-4 sets.
Send us your photos of your push up exercises and share how you are progressing over the next 2-3 weeks!
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