However, when you perform pushups correctly, they can have a tremendous impact on the lower abdomen—as ever, doing these exercises correctly is essential for optimizing their benefits and avoiding injury. The following is everything you need to know about pushups and how to use them to get a complete upper body workout.
There are a few things to keep in mind when performing a pushup:
- First, keep your back straight and your core engaged. Also, this will help you maintain proper form and prevent injury.
- Lower yourself down slowly and under control. You should be able to lower your body to the ground without touching it.
- Push yourself back with your arms, keeping your core engaged and your back straight.
- Repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions.
There are a few options for hand position during a pushup:
- Traditional–hands shoulder-width apart, palms facing down
- Wide–hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, palms facing down
- Narrow–hands close together, almost touching, palms facing each other
- Diamond–hands in a diamond shape, index fingers, and thumbs touching, palms facing each other
Which variation is best for you will depend on your fitness level and goals. If you are new to pushups, start with the traditional hand position. You can try the other variations to mix things up as you get stronger. Like the bench press, hand position determines which muscles you workout more. A closer grip works the arms more, while a wider grip works the chest and shoulder more.
How many pushups should I do?
Your fitness level and goals depend on how many pushups you should do. If you are new to pushups, start with a manageable number like 10-15 reps. As you get stronger, you can increase the number of reps. Aim for 3-5 sets of 8-12 reps to build muscle.
Remember to listen to your body and don’t push yourself too hard. If you start to feel pain, stop the exercise and consult a doctor if necessary.
There are a few options for pushup angles:
- 45-degree angle–place your hands on an elevated surface like a chair or table
- 30-degree angle–place your feet on an elevated surface like a chair or table
- Standard–feet and hands on the ground
Which variation is best for you will depend on your fitness level and goals. If you are new to pushups, start with the 45-degree angle. After that, you can move to the 30-degree angle and then the standard variation as you get stronger. Like the bench press, the pushup angle determines which muscles you work. For example, the lower degrees work the chest more, while the higher degrees work the shoulders and arms more.
One of the significant problems with a poorly performed pushup is that it puts incredible strain on the lower back and spine.
Thus, if you are severely overweight or have not worked out in quite some time, start with a changed version. Then, as your abdominal strength builds and your form improves, you can move to more advanced positioning and movement.
Always start by assuming a good plank position. After all, a pushup is simply a moving plank. If performed correctly, you will maintain your plank throughout the movement while shortening the distance between your stretched-out body and the floor.
To achieve a plank, lay flat on your stomach with your legs extended. Then, place your hands on the floor on each side of your body and use your toes to push up into an elevated position.
Once you achieve, your spine should be straight, and your hips shouldn’t sag down towards the floor. Also, you should fully engage lowIt’sbdominal muscles. If holding a plank hurts your lower back, correct your posture and try again. A plank can be good for building many of the same muscles you are targeting when doing pushups.
Once you have mastered the plank, slowly bend your elbows to lower your body closer to the floor. Ensure that your posture does not change and that your abs remain fully engaged throughout the movement.
When you are two to three inches from the floor, reverse the direction and push yourself back into the upright plank position. Repeat this movement for a complete set of ten. Try to perform as many sets as you can without losing excellent form.
To condition your chest, place your hands closer together. When your hands are so close that they almost touch, you will feel your outer arms and inner chest muscles doing most of the work on the pushups.
To work your upper back, place your hands further apart. This method will create an impressive back definition.
You can make this more challenging by crunching one knee into the chest at the movement’s top. Also, you can clap your hands together at the top of the exercise. Finally, perform the plank with bent knees positioned on the floor for those starting at beginner fitness levels. With this changed version, the upper torso should be completely straight, and the lower core muscles fully engaged.
Breathe when lowering your body to the floor, and breathe out when pushing back to your starting point. Slow, controlled movements and steady breathing will help you get the best results. Again, performing a few sets and repetitions with excellent form is better than performing many sets with poor posture and incorrect positioning.
Last word on using pushups to complete an upper body workout in one move
You should include pushups in your workout. They provide an excellent compound bodyweight exercise that can complement squats, deadlift, bench press, and shoulder press without the pressure on the joints. Also, you can perform them in the comfort of your home, with a HIIT workout, a pushup board, or use them to warm up or cool down after a workout.
The pushup is a classic exercise that can help you build the chest, back, arms, and shoulders. It’s a complete upper body workout that only takes minutes to do.
If you want to get in shape without spending hours at the gym, try incorporating pushups into your routine. We’ve shown you how to do them correctly, so give them a try today! What do you think? Please share your response in the comment section below so that others can benefit from your experience.