Between fancy workout programs, jam-packed classes, and lots of confusing equipment, you may not know where to begin when walking into the gym.
I don’t claim to be an expert, but I can tell you what has personally worked for me. First things first: you have to have a plan. More often that not, I see people wandering around without any idea of what muscle group they want to train, what equipment they want to use, etc. If you’re thinking about working on cardio, for example, you should know that there’s more for you to do than just running on a treadmill! But that’s another post in itself…
If you want to focus on arms, you may find yourself using the circuit machines, free weights, and stretchy therabands. Sure, those can all be great when used correctly. But if you’re looking for something easier to do, stick with the basics. And there’s nothing more simple or basic than a push-up.
If you’re having horrible flashbacks to middle school gym class, RELAX. Push-ups can and should be challenging. There are a lot of great reasons to love push-ups. Here are just a few:
- They don’t require any equipment.
- They work out multiple muscles at once (i.e. chest, shoulders, triceps, biceps, back, core, and even your glutes and quads).
- They’re quick – you don’t have to work out long to feel the burn.
- There are different levels perfect for beginners, intermediates, and experts (i.e. wall push-ups, knee or “girl” push-ups, regular push-ups, feet elevated push-ups, etc.)
- And my favorite: There are so many variations of push-ups.
What do I mean by different variations?
Close Push-Ups, or “diamond” push-ups, are done by touching together both thumbs and pointer fingers. These are tough, and require strong triceps because once you lower yourself closer to the floor, you have a lot more stress on the backside of your arms.
Wide Push-Ups are done by placing your hands wider than your shoulders (realistically, as far as you can). You’ll feel these more in your back!
Feet Elevated Push-Ups are done by placing your feet on a higher surface than your hands. Keeping your shoulders in line with your wrists, you’ll feel more stress on your upper body during these types of push-ups.
Knuckle Push-Ups are done on the knuckles of your fist instead of on the palm of your hands. These push-ups strengthen your wrists and forearms.
Push-Up Bars can be used with one hand on each bar, lowering your head and neck below the level of your hands. You should feel a good stretch in your shoulders by lowering your upper body below the bars.
Medicine Ball Push-Ups are similar to push-up bar push-ups, with each hand on a medicine ball. These require not only strength, but balance.
And I know there’s got to be more! Are you a fan of good ol’ fashion push-ups? Share your thoughts with us @20sTweet!