The push-up may just be the perfect total body exercise that builds both upper body and core strength. Done properly – with neutral spine alignment – it is a compound exercise that uses muscles in the chest, shoulders, triceps, back, abdominals and even the legs.
Here are five variations demonstrated by Stanley to give you some variety in your workouts as well as a challenge.
1. Standard Push-Up
Place your hands slightly beyond shoulder width apart. Set your feet together and straighten your arms and legs. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your ankles. Keeping your elbows pulled in, lower your chest to an inch above the floor and press back up.
2. Wide Grip Push-Up
This is a classic push-up that is harder than the standard push-up because you have less leverage to push yourself up. Keep your hands below the plane of your shoulders and make sure your elbows do not flare out too much. This will help keep the stimulation on your chest, shoulders and triceps as opposed to mostly your shoulders.
3. Tricep Push-Up (Narrow Grip Push-Up)
This push-up primarily conditions and tones the triceps in the back of the upper arm as well as working the chest and core. Start with your hands under your shoulders or slightly narrower. Begin in a plank position, then, keeping the body straight, lower to the floor by bending the arms. Push the body up until the arms are extended.
4. Diamond Push-Up
The diamond push-up is done with your hands close together and the index fingers and thumbs of one hand touching the other hand, making a diamond shape. You push up with your hands touching the centre of your chest and your elbows close to your sides during each rep.
This type of push-up targets your triceps more than any other variation and can put a lot of pressure on your wrists so avoid it if you have existing wrist injuries.
5. Front Clap Push-Up
With this push-up you forcefully push your body off the ground so that you clap your hands in front of your body, then go back to the push-up position. This variation will help you engage your chest, as well as help you create more pushing explosiveness, but it is not for novice exercisers. It’s advisable to work up to these over time to avoid injury.
The key to performing push-ups regularly is switching up the exercise. It’s about keeping your muscles guessing and increasing muscle functionality. For example, change the tempo and push down for one second, and then take three seconds to push back up. Other tips include trying different angles, hand positions, or incorporating resistance bands.
If you could do with some guidance from Sydney’s best strength and conditioning coaches or know that you’ll work harder with the motivation of one-on-one fitness coach, it’s time tocontact us.