This has to be one of the oldest body weight exercises since cavemen have been around. 🙂 I truly love push ups because you can do them anywhere and you do not need any equipment to do them. What I want to do today is give you a quick run down of the variations of the push up you can do and tips on how to do the push up safely so you stay injury free. So, let’s get started.
What Are The Types of Push Ups?
I’ll cover the 3 main stream push-ups and talk about variations of it as well. The regular push-up or military push-up is done with your hands positioned should width apart. The 2nd position is closed grip where your hands form a diamond touching your pointer fingers and thumbs. The hands are positioned under the middle of your chest. Lastly you have the wide grip push up that has your hands positioned outside of your shoulders.
Beyond this, there are clapping push-ups, decline push-ups off a bench or chair, yoga push ups and plyometric push-ups to name a few more variations. You can see why I loved these. Everyone of them I mentioned can be done at home in a small space!
What Muscles do push-ups develop?
Push ups are famous for building your tricep muscles or working on that horse shoe as they call it. You will also work your deltoids upper back, lower back and core doing these right. This is why they are a perfect body weight exercise to always include in your routine!
Safety Measures to Take
For the closed grip push-up this will be an advanced move. You will put a lot of pressure on your elbows doing these and it does require really strong triceps to do these. So, if you cannot do these right off, try bringing your hands within your shoulders a little at a time. Slowly work up to being able to touch your hands together. Trust me, these seriously work your triceps, so it will take a while to get to these and build up your muscular endurance to do them.
For Wide grip push-ups definitely do not go to wide at first!!! This is a great way to screw your shoulders up. Work your way out slowly so that you can successfully do these and feel strong about it.
Basic Steps to a Safe Push Up
- You will start in plank position. For our example we will assume it will be in military position. Your hands should be directly under your shoulders. We want to engage your core muscles to ensure stability. In order to do this, squeeze your glutes and tighten lower your stomach muscles. Your legs should be together in a straight line.
- Now lower yourself slowing to the ground. Your elbows should go directly back behind you. They should now flare out to the side. You can either lower yourself until your chest hits or you are a fists height from the ground. As you hit the ground your hands should be really close to your arm pits or touch them.
- Slow raise yourself back up using the same technique as you lowered yourself. You want your butt and stomach tight. Keep your arms next to your side and raise yourself back up to plank.
Here is a video demonstration on what this looks like.
What if I cannot do a Push Up?
Don’t worry I have you covered. Not everyone can do a regular push up. So, what I suggest is that you start with knee push-ups. It really follows the same principals as the basic push up but you are using your knees to brace yourself instead of your feet. You still keep your core tight, you make sure your elbows go straight back and don’t flare out and you lower self slowly and bring yourself up slowly.
Ok, that is the text book examples. Now, most of you will absolutely flare out until your triceps and shoulder muscles can support you to do it correctly. With that said do not get discourage. Do what you can do and just stick with it. It will take 3-4 weeks for you to come around on body weight push-ups doing them 3-4 times a week. You will get it! I promise.
As you advance along you will want to add more challenges to your routine. If you have a pull up dip station around this is a great way to add more height to push-ups. You can use chairs to do push ups off the ground. You can use exercises balls under each hand to do push ups. The list literally goes on and on. Have fun with it and be-safe. I would love to hear how you use push-ups in your daily routine below.