If there’s one exercise we love at The Allrounder, it’s push-ups. Seriously, they’re like the perfect exercise. Not only do they work muscles all over the body, you can do them pretty much anywhere, you can easily modify them based on your skill level, and they fit really nicely into metabolic workouts. They’re basically awesome – but only if you’re doing them properly.
So before we start going through our favourite push-up variations (yeah, we’ve got a few), there’s a few things you should be doing to get them right.
- Using the correct form – You know, keeping a good neutral spine so you’re not sagging. If you do you’ll hyperextend, which can lead to injury. It also means you’re working your core as well, which as you’ve probably heard, is extremely important.
- Perform controlled eccentric movements of three seconds or more – What that means is lower yourself slowly. Eccentric movements have loads of benefits, two specific ones being increased strength and greater muscle damage (this is what makes your muscles grow). Also very important for if you can’t do a push up without using your knees (if you can’t, only use your knees to push up, then lower eccentrically as a normal push up.).
- Mentally thinking about the muscles being worked then squeezing them at the peak of contraction – May seem like a strange one but it will help focus on the movement and form, which means the exercise is far more beneficial.
- Don’t lock out, keep the muscles under slight tension – More tension equals more effort and a harder workout. Harder workouts (with good form) mean better development.
So there you go. But if you’re still not sure, make sure you ask a PT for some guidance. Exercises done wrong mean you’re probably wasting time and you’re prone to injury. We don’t want you doing that. We like you.
Keep your hands shoulder-width apart and start in a plank position. Imagine a line drawn from your head to your toes and maintain that throughout. Elbows should be held in close to the body. Lovely.
Move your arms further out from the shoulder-width position. This will put more emphasis on the chest muscles and less on the triceps. They’re also harder than a normal push up.
These move the emphasis more towards the triceps. Make sure you keep your elbows tightly into the body. They’re pretty tough.
Plyometric exercises are ones that use explosive movements to exert maximum force in short intervals of time. The result is a combination of speed and strength – which is known as power. Power is cool. Use responsibly though.
The same as the plyometric but with added difficulty. Basically, if you don’t manage to do your clap in time you’re going to fall on your face.
A tough beast but one that has a load of benefits. The constant movement means that you’re incorporating a lot more muscles, you’re also putting more effort into balance and coordination.
A simple way to make a normal push up a little bit harder. Also means you have to use your core more to balance.
This primarily does two things: firstly, the fact you’re raising one leg means that you’re putting a lot more effort into the upper body. Secondly, the addition of the leg raise to the elbow means you’re working the core. Balance and coordination as well. Obviously.
Like the Spiderman but using the core muscles differently. The hardest bit of this one is keeping your form on point.
A great one to target the upper chest muscles and also make the workout a bit harder. The higher the elevation, the tougher the exercise and the more focus on the upper chest and shoulders. Make sure no pedestrians are sat on the bench during the exercise, they don’t seem to like it. Inclines are done with your hands on the bench. They’re normally a bit easier.
We strongly recommend that you consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program.
You should be in good physical condition and be able to participate in the exercise.