Wellness & Fitness
Master the push-upSaturday June 04 2022
A press-up or push-up is one exercise that seems simple.
However, it is not just for warm-up but a bodyweight exercise that can perfectly trim and tone the upper body and the core (abdominal area). It is so versatile, targets many body parts at once, that it can be the one exercise to help you lose weight and firm the body.
The advantage is that it can be done anywhere and with no equipment required.
Fitness trainer Ramadhan Okutoyi says a push-up is considered a compound movement exercise targeting several muscle groups. The exercise targets muscles in the chest, shoulders, arms, abs, legs, and the back.
“It is simple and effective in increasing strength,” he says.
The exercise comes in different variations including standard push-up, incline push-up, pike push-ups, wall push-up, diamond push-up, one-handed push-up and wide push-up, close grip and archer push-up or weighted pushup.
A standard push-up starts with being in a rigid plank position with the arms fully extended and hands, elbows and shoulders all in line and the feet not more than 12 inches apart.
He says that the spine should be neutral so that the body forms a straight line from the feet to the crown of the head while also engaging the core and thighs to keep the hips flat and level.
To protect the shoulders from injuries, Mr Okutoyi advises that a person should ensure that the chest is lowered just past the level of the bent elbow so that the upper arms are parallel to the floor.
Dropping the chest any further can increase stress on the anterior capsule of the shoulder exposing the muscles to tear.
“Proper form is always very important in any exercise, however, simple they might seem. Move slowly and be in control while focusing on your breathing. Breathe in when lowering and out when pushing back up,” said the trainer.
On a plank position with hands flat on the ground, arms straight and feet together or not more than 12 inches apart, move the elbows while breathing in to lower the chest to slightly below the level of the bent elbow. Push back to starting position while slowly breathing out.
“This variation strengthens the upper body, primarily the chest, shoulders, and triceps, as well as the core and back muscles,” he says.
Incline and decline push-ups
This is an elevated variation of the standard push-up. The upper body can be raised leg by using elevated equipment like a box or bench, or place the leg on a raised platform.
Then go through the normal routine of performing a normal push-up but making sure your legs are straight and arms are perpendicular to the body.
“This form increases the activation of the upper chest muscles and the front of the shoulders (anterior deltoids). The higher your feet, the more difficult.”
This push-up variation strengthens the upper body and core, with more focus on the triceps. In a plank position, hold the hands together with the thumbs and forefingers touching in a way that creates a diamond-shaped hole where the hands come together.
Keep the elbows tight to the body and bend them to lower the chest toward the triangle. The triangle should be kept directly below the chest throughout the movement.
The feet and hands are placed wider than shoulder-width, hips high, heels low, and an inverted-V position maintained, bend the elbows and lower your head towards the floor between your hands. Reverse the movement to the starting position for one repetition.
The workout fortifies the upper body and core, with more focus on the shoulders.
One arm push-up
This involves doing a push-up with one arm centered below the chest and the other one behind the back. Maintain a flat back and level hips throughout the movement.
It activates the core for stability as it requires tremendous core strength to keep the body in position while executing the movements.
“This variation needs more balance and so one should have the feet wider for balance and stability if they are beginners,” says Mr Okutoyi.
This is the same as standard push-up, says Mr Okutoyi, only that it involves the addition of weight to an individual’s bodyweight for improved results.
“The weight will make it more difficult to execute movements hence adding more tension on the targeted muscle groups.”
Power and clap push-ups
This push-up variation develops power in the chest, triceps, and shoulders.
From a standard push-up position, lower the chest to slightly below the level of the bent elbow, and then push upward with enough force so that the hands leave the ground by a few inches then clap them.
“Land with soft elbows in push-up form and continue the lowering motion toward the ground.”