Most of us did them when we were children, and most of us have done them wrong.If you’re reading this, you must have survived in spite of that. Here are some tips on getting the most out of your push ups.
Push ups are the most basic calisthenics exercise. Yet they are the foundational exercise to give us the old guy strength to progress to more difficult movements. Push ups develop more than just your pecs, Your ability to push yourself up, if properly strengthened, will give you the stability to do many more advance pushup and handstand variations.If not strengthened properly will probably lead to injuries when you try advanced moves.
How To Do Proper Push Ups
I Have heard people try to tell me the proper position of the hands. You may have heard this kind of advice also, ” keep your thumbs by your nipples” or ” keep you third knuckle on your ring finger perpendicular to your fourth rib”. Well you get the idea.
There are far too many variations of push ups to be any advice on hand placement. That’s the beauty of push ups, with so many types, you can find a more difficult style to do when you have mastered an easier one.
What is important is elbow placement. If you think back to when you were in those PE classes in school on the days when you and a whole bunch of scrawny kids trying to do pushups. It was a sea of elbows, pointed all different directions.Who cared about form, we just wanted to get some push ups.
So the first step in doing perfect push ups is to bring your elbows in. Not just draw them closer to your side, but more than that. It’s beneficial if you roll your arms back and in like your turning your hands backward. This will help you to engage the whole shoulder girdle in the exercise. Making your push ups stronger and more stable.
Even if you’re doing extremely wide push ups,
By engaging these other muscle your chance of injury is lessened, and you’re strengthening the muscle you will need to do the advanced moves.
Your Back Is A Bar
Let’s keep this short. Keep it straight like a bar. Essenetially that’s what it is during a push up.
Your feet are the pivot point, your back becomes the bar, and your upper body becomes the weight you are attempting to lift. If you have a giant head like I do, you know how hard this can be.
Range Of Motion
Range of motion is the point from where you start the exercise, to the point at where you finish the exercise. The greater your range of motion, the more benefit you will receive from doing the rep.
I’m old, If I’m going to take the time to do the workout, I want to get all I can from it. So wasting your time doing short reps is simply a waste of time. So the full range of motion for a push up is from your nose almost touching the ground, taking yourself up you will come to a point where your arms are fully extended. At this point, most people start going back down. If you’re training for calisthenics, and want to get the most out of your workout. So if your elbow positioning is correct, you should be able to raise your entire body up a little more by tightening your core from head to toe. By doing this you are in full control, stable, and not loose. If done correctly you will feel strong in the position, but still it is a resting position.
If your elbows are not positioned correctly, you will find that once your arms are fully extended, that will be the end of the exercise for you. Also you are going to feel more pressure on your shoulders, rather than on the chest and arms.
How Many Push Ups Should You Do?
How many can you do? I would be like one of those kids on YouTube , if I started telling you to do 200 reps a day if you want to see progress. Instead, I would encourage you to count sets in the beginning. If you can do one rep, then do it for a number of sets that you choose. Let’s say you do one rep for five sets this week. The following week you get two reps for five sets. Then when you get to a number of reps that you like, add another set.
For example, you got to the point where you’re doing five sets of ten, increase to six sets. Now when you get to where you’re doing ten sets of ten, now start doing fifteen sets.
This is referred to as progressive overload.At some point you are going to need to start addend weight to the exercise, or start doing harder variations.
Eventually you will be doing 200 reps during your workout, just because you can.
How Often Should You Do Push ups?
If you look around on YouTube, it’s not hard to find a video about someone doing a hundred push ups a day. I have never watched any of them because I don’t Like Clowns.
The guys who do those videos are usually well trained athletes, so a hundred push ups in a day to them isn’t really that many. If someone starting out were to do this, they would be going to the ER by the fourth day for chest pains.
For one thing, working the same muscle every day, doesn’t give it a chance to recover. I would recommend putting at least a day between for rest when working a muscle group.
For example, if you do your push up workout on day one, you could work on your handstands on day two. You would still be engaging your shoulder and chest strength. The point being, you can still use that muscle in your following days workout, but don’t focus on the same muscle group every day. You can always do two hundred reps every other day. Getting the same amount of reps, with a rest day.
Listen To Your Body
What you need to do as quickly as possible is learn to listen to your own body. If your muscles are so sore or tired that trying to workout feels impossible then do something else for that workout.Even a good stretching session will be of benefit, without tearing down the muscles more. Especially if you’re older, we don’t bounce back as quickly as we used to, and it only takes one bad workout to put your progress to halt. Of coarse don’t use this as an excuse to skip workouts. You will soon learn the difference between just sore from the workout, or over trained.
As an example, when I decided it was time to get back into shape. My first workout I decided to do one hundred reps on each exercise. My thought of coarse was, I’m gonna shock my dormant muscles, that have been laying on the couch for the past 25 years, back to life. I used a heavy weight and only did three or four at a time, but I did the hundred on a lot of exercises.
It’s difficult to describe the intense amount of pain I had for the next few days. That was a full body workout, so I had full body pain. So after wasting a week walking around the house like Frankenstien, I learned that Going a little slower in the beginning might be a good thing. Now I know that Some of you are thinking “what a dumbass” for doing that on my first workout, but your the same people who would have tried doing something just like that if I didn’t warn you first. You’re welcome
What are the best push ups to do?
So many variations of push ups to choose from, the question is, what kind should you do. If you’re just starting out, and doing standard push ups with your hands shoulder width apart. Eventually they will become easy enough that you will want to find more challenging versions.
Two varieties of push ups that I have found to give me the best results are archer push ups, and diamond. These two combined have given me the best all around results.
Archer push ups are done with your hands slightly wider than you would put them for standard push ups. The on the decent you would put the majority of your body weight onto one arm, straightening the other arm and using it only to balance yourself. On the next reps you would alternate arms. This exercise is especially challenging if you use suspension straps such as TRX.
The benefit to this type of push up is extended range of motion you put on your chest muscles. Essentially you are doing one arm push ups, so make sure your strong enough before adding them to your workout.
I also like diamond push ups. To do these you simply put your hands on the ground close together so that your index fingers and thumbs from both hands are touching, or very close anyway, keeping your elbows close to your sides.
This variation puts more pressure on the triceps, forcing them to get strong enough to keep up. The pecs are a large muscle, and they gain strength fast. When you’re doing dips or even push ups, it’s usually your triceps that get tired before the chest muscles. They are the weak link in all of your pushing movements. So doing diamond push ups will help fix this issue.
When you get to the point in your workouts where these variations are getting too easy, there are many other more advanced options. Or create your own if you can find a challenging way to strengthen your push.
Why Do Push Ups?
Push ups are exactly what they claim to be.It’s your ability to push yourself up. We all remember the commercial with the old lady that has fallen and can’t get up. Had she been doing push ups regularly she would have called and said “I’ve fallen so I’m going to bust out twenty reps while I’m down here”. Even if you’re not trying to be a calisthenics superhero, your ability to push yourself up from the ground is something you don’t want to lose. Doing just a few push ups on a regular basis could benefit anyone, and help you get that old guy strength.