Why should you pushup?
1: To tone the muscles of your upper body, especially the chest, triceps and abdominals
2: To increase your general strength and ability to lift and support your own body weight
3: They are an exercise that is easy to do, anytime, anywhere, as part of any workout.
Perfecting your pushup technique
Kneel on the ground and place your hands forward, just wider than shoulder width. Keep your neck and back straight and your tummy gently pulled in. Slowly bend your elbows to 90 degrees, breathing in. Pause.
Push through your palms to straighten the elbows again, breathing out. If you can maintain this position easily, lift your knees off the ground, so the body makes a straight line. Keep your movements slow and controlled and ensure the core is switched on to stop your lower back ‘sinking’.
Pushups for everyone: Gentle & rehab
Place your hands just wider than shoulder width on a wall or kitchen bench top. Step your feet back one step, so you are slightly leaning forward. Slowly bend your elbows to bring your chest towards the wall or counter and push back out.
The near vertical body position reduces the amount of body weight you are lifting. This is a perfect pushup for beginners, those recovering from injury or pregnant.
Tone & stability
Slowly roll forwards on your tummy, over your fitness ball. Place your hands on the ground, just wider than shoulder width. Start with your thighs on the ball. As you get stronger, progress until only your feet are on the fitness ball.
Perform a pushup
The unstable surface of the fitness ball makes your body have to work much harder and engage your core and other stabiliser muscles.
Strength & core
Hold dumbbells placed on the floor just wider than shoulder width. Start with one pushup. Then perform a ‘row’ by lifting one dumbbell off the floor, bringing your elbow towards the ceiling. Place it back down and repeat with your other arm.
Keep alternating pushups and rows.
The use of dumbbells increases the strength factor and the lifting up of one hand challenges your core by removing an ‘anchor’.
Perfect your technique and perform 3 sets of 20 pushups 3 times per week, on their own or as part of any other workout.
By Rachel Livingstone Personal Trainer & Owner of The Health Hub www.healthhub.net.au
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