August is here!! School will be starting again and everyone will be getting busier! So let's talk about an exercise that'll give you more bang for your buck: the push up. Yes it may be dreaded by some, but it's always the hard exercises that do you the most good, right?
Pectoralis Major + Minor: These are the muscles that make up your chest. A strong chest is important to keep our body's balanced since most people naturally have a stronger back. Fellas can start filling out those v-neck shirts, and ladies can benefit from a more youthful look via a (non-surgical, and cost free) breast lift and tone!
Triceps: That bottom part of your arm that is always less toned than you hope for, yeah push ups work that too.
Deltoids: Specifically the anterior (front) delt... which is the part of your shoulder you can see when your facing forward in the mirror.
Abdominals: yes your abs benefit from push ups! If you think about it you are holding a plank for the duration of the exercise.
Serratus Anterior: this muscle connects from the chest and wraps under your arm; this one is for the ladies trying to tone up that little bra bulge you get in the front of your armpit. You're welcome.
How to perform:
Start in a front plank forming a straight line with your body from your neck to your ankles.
Holding this body position, bend your arms until your elbows reach at least 90 degrees.
Push back up, straightening your arms, until you reach the starting position.
Knee Push Up: this is a great alternative for beginners! This version should be performed with knees bent and touching the floor the whole time, keeping a straight line from the back of the knee to the neck.
Tricep Push Up: performed with elbows tucked into the body and hands aligned slightly lower with the rib cage. These will target your triceps over the chest (can also be achieved my forming a diamond shape with your hands under your chest which is more advanced).
Wide Push Up: hands aligned with chest and out away from the body. As elbows bend they will stay out over the wrists, targeting with chest.
Incline Push Up: can be done using a bench or stairs to keep your hands higher than your feet. This will target the lower chest, decrease deltoid work, and decrease the load which makes it another great option for beginners!
Decline Push Up: this is performed with feet elevated higher than the hands, increasing the load, increasing deltiod activation, and targeting the upper chest (pec minor). You can progress this from slightly elevated all the way to a handstand push up depending on your skill level and what muscles you are trying to target.
You can also use all sorts of equipment to add variation to any exercise! Try using a ball under one hand (or both!) to challenge stability or target one arm at a time. You can you resistance bands over the back of your shoulders to add an extra challenge. And if you can't do a push up yet, just flip your self over and start with a dumbbell chest press, which is basically a push up motion with your arms while you are lying on your back.
Push ups are a great exercise and calorie burner. Add some into your exercise regimen, or even your morning routine and I guarantee you will start reaping the benefits!