why you should do push ups for the rest of your life – JLFITNESSMIAMI

Why You Should Do Push Ups For The Rest of Your Life

push up article

The Perfect Exercise

Drop and give me 20!

You’ve probably heard this expression in a boot camp class, in a movie, or perhaps your PE teacher in high school yelled it while someone or something went wrong in class. Why isn’t the expression more like, “Give me 100 jumping jacks!” or “Drop and give me 40 sit ups”?

Part of the reason is because doing push ups is a feat of strength and optimal conditioning. Another reason is perhaps the idea that the benefit can transfer over to other sports and real life movements. Another term for a useful movement like this is called “functional movement” or “functional exercise”.

Is it so hard to believe that the push up can deliver so much value? That simply pushing yourself up, away from the floor can get you stronger, healthier and leaner? This is a basic exercise that targets multiple muscle groups throughout your upper body. It builds core strength and even it makes your heart work hard.

Have you ever been out of breath after doing a couple of push ups? This is due to the intensity of the exercise and because your heart is working hard to provide oxygen to your working muscles.

This staple exercise might not look as complex or as interesting as other exercises, but learning how to do it properly and applying it frequently, can give you the body and strength that you desire.

Push Ups are free

Do you want to sculpt your upper body ? Do you want a stronger core? Do you want lean looking arms? Do you want more stable hips and shoulders? Want to improve your athletic ability and prevent injury? Do Push ups.

It doesn’t matter what your fitness goal is, or how old you are, or even your sex. Anyone can benefit from doing push ups. In fact, I would go as far as to say that you should probably be doing push ups for the rest of your life.

You don’t need extra equipment for it. You don’t need a gym membership. And you barely need any space.

The primary muscles targeted in a push up are the: Pectorals, Triceps Brachii  and Deltoids

muscles worked with the push up

Training The Core With The Push Up

If we look at it, a push up is basically a moving plank. Have you ever noticed someone doing push ups, and at some point there hip sags? They have the strength to push themselves back up, using the muscles of the upper body, but their posture at the mid line of the body breaks down.

push ups with bad form

This is perhaps because their core isn’t able to keep up. And in this sense, I’m also including the hips part of the core. The abs and obliques also play an important role in stabilizing the trunk when performing push ups.

How to Do Push Ups

push up meme

I’ve been in numerous gyms over the span of 20 years. I have observed many exercises performed poorly. One exercise that is consistently done with bad form is the push up. I’ve watched young people, women, seniors and even gym “veterans” do them incorrectly. Is it lack of proper instruction? Lack of body awareness? Lack of strength? Or perhaps lack of stability?

It can be one or a mixture of these. In a push up position, you’re not just asking your upper body to work hard, but you’re also asking your hips and shoulders to be stable enough to produce effective force.

Executing The Push Up, The Right Way

how to do push upshow to do push ups- part 2

1.Start in a plank position where you feet are close together, hips are squared facing the ground, and your spine is straight.

2. Look forward, but not up. Try not to look down. Looking down can emphasize a forward head posture.

3. Notice your hand position. Your hands should face somewhat forward.

4. Your elbows should be close to your torso. Flaring your elbows out can cause shoulder impingement.

5. Inhale as you lower your body to the floor. It’s not necessary to touch the floor with your chest. Getting 1 or 2 inches close to the ground is fine.

6. Exhale as you push yourself up. Remember, make sure your head, spine and hips come up at the same time.

push up hand position

What to Do If You Can’t Do Push Ups

There are two exercises that you can do to acquire the strength needed in order to perform proper push ups:

1. Do incline push ups. This means doing that exercise from an elevated platform. You can use a wall, a bench or a racked barbell. The higher the platform or surface, the less resistance you will face to push yourself back up. As you get stronger, lower the angle of your push up. The closer you get to the ground, the more strength you will need in order to push yourself back up.

2. Do negative push ups. Ok, this one isn’t so easy but it’s absolutely useful. Negative push ups or eccentric push ups is where you focus in lowering yourself from the plank position as slow as possible. This will strengthen the same muscles needed to push yourself back up. Performing these drills once in a while isn’t going to do much for you. Try to practice them frequently.

Push Up Variations and Advanced Techniques

So what do you do when you’re able to bang out a bunch of push ups with great form? Do you simply do more? You can. But you can also practice doing different variations and techniques that have distinctive benefits.

Here are some:

Plyo push ups (from a bench) 

This is an explosive push up. You can use this version as a part of a metabolic workout or you can use it as a warm up prior to bench pressing.

Yoga push ups with arm reach

This is a movement that can be used as an exercise or as a warm up. In this version you will dynamically stretch your lats, chest, hamstrings and calves.

Push Ups with trunk rotation

In this version you will use your obliques more than you do in a standard push up. This is a movement that will also greatly challenge your shoulder and hip stability.

Static Push Up Plank

In this version you will use your obliques more than you do in a standard push up. This is a movement that will also greatly challenge your shoulder and hip stability.

Useful Push Up Techniques to Consider

Here are some simple tweaks that will challenge your push ups:

1. Lean forward. This will challenge your shoulder’s stability more.

2. Pause for a second at the bottom position. This will challenge your strength as you push yourself back up.

3. Perform single leg push ups. This will greatly challenge the stability of the leg that remains on the ground.

4. Perform 3/4 push ups. This means not locking out at the top to keep tension on the muscles.

5. Perform a focused and deliberate contraction (squeeze) of the chest muscles at the top position.

Push Up Challenge

Try this bodyweight challenge that will test your upper body strength and endurance.

Rest 1 minute in between exercises. ⁠ ⁠ Try to do every single rep with good form and with a full range of motion. ⁠

A classic Exercise

The quality of your push ups is more important than the quantity.

Doing 20 push ups with great form is better than doing 50 sloppy push ups. In this scenario, less is definitely more. Push ups have been around for a while and they aren’t going anywhere. They are not a fad. They are accessible and useful. And most people can surely benefit from including them in their strength training programs.

I hope this post has given you more appreciation for this classic exercise. Practice it frequently, and I am confident it will improve other aspects of your health and fitness.