I love push-ups. Actually I don’t really love them, but I do love how I feel after I’ve been doing them for a few days. I just feel stronger – all over. The reason for that is a push-up is a compound exercise. That means several muscles are recruited in the process of doing a push-ups. An isolation exercise, like the bicep curl, uses one muscle – the bicep. That is great for astetics but useless when it comes over all body movement.

The idea of doing push-ups scares people. I get that. I often hear “I can’t do men’s push-ups”. For the record, there is no need for sexism in the world of push-ups. There are numerous variations of push-ups. They can be done at the wall, from your knees, or your toes, to name a few. You can clap as part of the push-up process if you find that entertaining, and don’t break your nose in the process. Once again – it’s just important to do them no matter which variation you choose to do or are able to do.

“What seems impossible today will one day become your warm-up.” ~ unknown

Any strengthen exercise should be done slowly with good form. That’s for both safety and maximum effectiveness. Here are some points to keep in mind for three of the push-up variations:

Wall Push-ups: Facing the wall, have your feet close together and about a foot from the wall (start with closer to the wall if you are unsure of your strength). Place your hands on the wall at shoulder height and about 6 – 8 inches wider than your shoulders. Tighten your belly, and lower your chest towards the wall, until you elbows have a right bend in them, and then return to the starting position. Repeat for 8 – 12 reps if you are comfortable with that. If it’s too much start with a lower number and add a rep a day. When this variation is going well for you try….

Knee Push-ups: Lying face down on the floor (on a mat or towel of some kind), bend your knees so that your feet are in the air. Place your hands on the floor in a similar position as described in the previous exercise. The wider your hands are from each other  the more muscles are used. Once again, engage your core muscles, push yourself up off the floor (you can also do this reverse by starting from your knees and lowering yourself toward the floor). As you lower yourself only come down so your elbows are at a right angle – no lower! Repeat slowly for 8 – 12 reps. Again – do what you are comfortable with. When these become relatively easy move on to the next challenge….

From your toes: Same as Knee Push-ups, but from your toes.

Doing push-ups on a regular basis will strengthen your chest muscles, triceps, shoulders and abs. How efficient is that?

Something to think about.