#What are push ups?
Push ups (previously called as floor dips) belong to the family of calisthenics (bodyweight training) exercises performed in prone (chest down back up) position while pushing the away from ground using your arms. It may be used to build the upper body but there are other muscles involved which might change your attitude towards it. And believe it or not but push ups are just as beneficial for your core development as planks are. I’m not establishing that push ups are better, but they can be incorporated if you are a hardcore planker.
Primary muscles targeted include pectoral muscle (chest, as we know it), front shoulder (anterior deltoids, and triceps brachii (back of the arm, and thus push ups rules the exercises for upper body building.
Other than these, the stabilizer muscles are also used which are present both in front and back of your body, including your abs, erector spinae (the main stabilizer of the back), forearms, biceps, and even quads. Which are responsible for core development.
Note:- Do not forget that this is a calisthenics exercise that means body weight training, where only body weight resistance is used to develop the core strength and flexibility.
However, free weights can be incorporated, placed across your upper back to create extra resistance.
#How to perform a proper push-up?
To benefit from any exercise, you need to perform it properly. There are many variations of push ups but you must get down with proper push ups first. Following is the chronology for proper push ups.
- Lie down in prone position (chest down back up)
- Open your legs shoulder wide.
- Place your arms on the sides of your chest with your thumbs touching you chest adjacent to your nipples.
- Push the ground away to get into the starting position, keeping your neck, back, mid section and legs straight & aligned as much as possible.
- Gently lower your body, keeping neck, back, mid section and legs straight as possible.
- Lightly touch your chest against the floor and then again push the floor away.
Beginners- Use your knees as the pivot point, which would decrease the body mass pressure on your arms and the exercise, will be much lighter. Then after you are proficient in this, go for the basic one (mentioned above), and then try the variations.
Precautions- While performing this, make sure you back is not sagging or drooping, otherwise in the long run you might just end up injuring yourself. Your neck, back, mid section, and legs should be as straight as possible.
Breathing- Some folks breathe in while going up & breathe out while going down. Some folks do the opposite. To be honest both are okay as long as you are not holding your breath, because some folks forget to breathe while working out and breathe discretely in between. Breathing is the centre of working out.
#The wisdom behind Push-ups is Pretty Simple
Perform push ups routinely for better overall health. You can perform them anywhere you go if you travel, or in the comfort of your own home without the need for any equipment.
Push ups are okay to perform daily if being used as a Calisthenics exercise that doesn’t damage muscle cells, but if you use weight to create resistance, or perform variations such as burnouts and negatives, then 24-48 hours of rest are required for torn muscles to heal and grow.
#Other Benefits from Performing Push-ups
Push-ups are great for strength training and core development, but they have further benefits such as bone development. Around the age of 30 bone mass begins to decline, but exercising the body actually encourages bone development and may prevent osteoporosis from forming.
The bones in your arms, from your wrist to shoulders, will become stronger and denser.
You will increase your metabolic rate as well. Push ups also fall into the compound exercise category as well since numerous muscles are used to create balance and movement – your legs are even getting a workout from an upper body exercise during some variations.
That being said, your heart has to pump blood faster to provide oxygen to all the muscles being used, thus increasing your metabolic rate for cardio health and fat loss when performed with higher repetitions.
#Different Push-up Variations
Normal pushups are great for your body already, but sometimes it’s best to change up the routine a little to keep things from getting boring. Below is a list of pushup variations you should try out and experiment with.
- Elevated Push-ups – Better emphasis on your lats and lower back
- Spiderman Push-ups – Increases resistance on muscles and more emphasis on core muscles
- Diamond Push-ups – Better emphasis on shoulders and triceps
- Dive Bomber Push-ups – More emphasis on hamstrings and lower back than usual
- Canyon Push-ups – Deeper resistance against your pecs the further down you dip
- Leg Up Push-ups – Increases resistance on muscles and more emphasis on core muscles
- Incline Push-ups – Good for taking a rest during continuous pushup sets. The higher your elevated the easier they are to perform. No significant difference on muscle contractions.