The Perfect Pushup and Why You Should Do a Few

The good old fashioned push-up is one of the best exercises we can do for our bodies. We often think of the push-up as an arm workout, however, it works much more than our arms. Some of the benefits of doing push-ups include:

Core strength

When performing a push-up, your core is responsible for keeping your spine straight. Without a straight spine, a push-up can cause injury. This puts a lot of pressure on your core muscles, especially your abs, and helps build their strength. At the same time, you use your core to keep yourself balanced. This in turn will improve your posture and balance with other sports, exercises and activities.

Chest, shoulder and arm strength

We use our shoulder, chest and arm muscles frequently in daily life. Toning these muscles not only helps you look and feel great, but also makes daily chores easier. Regular strengthening of these muscles can also improve your overall athletic performance. Do you like to run, bike or play an occasional game of basketball? Get these muscles toned with push-ups and you will notice huge benefits to your game.

Increased bone mass

We all start naturally losing bone density in our mid 30s. Because push-ups are weight bearing exercise, they help build and strengthen bone mass. Your shoulder, upper arm, elbow, forearm and wrist bones will all benefit from push-ups.

Improved metabolic rate

Because a push-up workout uses so many muscles at once, your heart is pushed to pump faster. This means a faster metabolic rate, and more efficient weight loss.

The Perfect Pushup

In order to reap the benefits of push-ups, they must be done correctly. Here are the steps to performing the perfect pushup:

  • Get on your hands and knees in a comfortable place on the floor.
  • Move into the plank position with your weight bearing on your toes and hands. Spread your hands slightly further apart than your shoulders. Your feet should be close together.
  • Keep your core engaged by tightening your abdominal muscles and pulling them towards your spine. Keep your neck aligned with your spine while bending your elbows and slowly lowering yourself to the ground.
  • When your chest is about 6 inches from the ground, push up, straightening your elbows and returning to the original position.
  • Repeat for about 10 push-ups, or as many as you can do before you lose form. Take a break and try again.

If you struggle with push-ups, start out by doing them on your knees until you build strength:

  • Get on your hands and knees in a comfortable place on the floor.
  • Walk your hands out so you are in a plank position on you knees. Your legs should be sticking up but not crossing. Your hands should be slightly more than shoulder width apart.
  • Keep your core engaged to hold proper position.
  • Lower down just like a regular push-up. Return to starting position when your chest is 6 inches from the ground.
  • Woman doing push ups fitness workoutRepeat for 10 push-ups, or as many as you can do without losing form. Once you have built strength and feel comfortable with the knee push-up, move on to the full push-up, but only if you can keep good form.

-The Alternative Daily

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