I’m always greeted with squeals of excitement in my gym when I ask clients to perform push-ups for 60 seconds straight – said me Never! And why? It’s not a mystery. I know first hand that doing consecutive push-ups in proper form is hard.
By proper form I mean in prone position (face down), on your toes, hands placed slightly wider than your shoulders, your back is in a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles (no saggy center or pike butt), bending your arms and lowering your body until it’s just off the ground (chin and chest first, no forehead bobbing) and then pushing yourself back to the starting position while maintaining proper alignment. Yes, that one rep took two seconds, now keep going for another 58. No wonder I hear grunts and see blank stares.
I’m not in love with doing pushups myself, but I do love what they do for the body.
Everyone can do them because there are so many variations! If you feel you’re not strong enough to start on your toes, then start on your knees, use a bench or the wall, and if you have wrist issues you can use your knuckles.
Pushups require many muscles. The primary muscles used are in the upper body. Pushups use your pecs (chest area), deltoids (shoulders) and triceps (back of the arm). Once you reach the top of the exercise, your body must stabilize itself and calls on secondary muscles to do this. Your body engages the muscles of the core, neck, hips and legs to help your body maintain a balanced horizontal position. There is so much going on!
Benefits of pushups include strengthening, toning and building beautiful muscle in your chest, upper arms and shoulders. Who doesn’t like to look at (or show off) a well toned upper body? They also strengthen and help tone your core. I love the benefits you can see! Perhaps more important though are the benefits you don’t think about or can’t see. Pushups will also strengthen your wrists, forearms, elbows, and like other weight-bearing exercises, they help reduce bone loss and promote stronger, more dense bones. Because they use a large number of muscles at the same time, your heart rate will increase adding a little cardio element to the mix. It’s all good!
You get so much bang for your buck with push-ups! They will love you even if you don’t love them back. Give them a try!