The pushup is a classic bodyweight exercise that targets the chest, shoulders, triceps, and core. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to perform a proper pushup, as well as some variations and tips to help you avoid injury:
- Start in a plank position with your hands placed slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Your wrists should be directly under your shoulders and your body should form a straight line from your head to your heels.
- Lower your body towards the ground by bending your elbows and keeping them close to your sides. Your chest should come close to the ground, but not touch it.
- Push back up to the starting position by straightening your arms. Keep your core engaged and your body in a straight line throughout the movement.
- Repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions.
Some Variations of pushups:
- Diamond Pushup: Place your hands close together under your chest, forming a diamond shape with your thumbs and index fingers. This variation targets the triceps more.
- Incline Pushup: Place your hands on a raised surface, such as a bench or step, to make the exercise easier. This variation is great for beginners or for those who lack upper body strength.
- Decline Pushup: Place your feet on a raised surface, such as a bench or step, to make the exercise more challenging. This variation targets the chest and shoulders more.
- Wide-Grip Pushup: Place your hands wider than shoulder-width apart to target the chest more.
- Close-Grip Pushup: Place your hands closer than shoulder-width apart to target the triceps more.
Tips to avoid injury:
- Keep your body in a straight line throughout the movement.
- Keep your elbows close to your body and avoid flaring them out.
- Avoid locking your elbows at the top of the movement.
- Keep your core engaged to avoid lower back pain.
- Don’t overdo it and be sure to listen to your body, if you feel pain in any joints, stop and rest.
As for how many push-ups one should do, it depends on your fitness level and goals. As a general guideline, it is recommended to start with a small number of pushups, such as 5-10 reps, and gradually increase the number over time as you build strength and endurance. For beginners, it is best to start with 1-2 sets of 5-10 reps and gradually increase the number of sets and reps as you become stronger.
As you progress, you can aim to perform more reps or sets, or try different variations of pushups to challenge yourself. It is also important to incorporate pushups into your overall workout routine and to include other exercises that target the chest, shoulders, triceps, and core.
It’s important to note that the number of pushups one should do also depends on your individual fitness level and goals, a beginner may want to start with lower reps and increase as they become stronger, while an advanced fitness enthusiast may be able to do a higher number of reps. It’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional or a certified fitness trainer to create a workout plan that is tailored to your individual needs and goals.
Another important aspect to consider when performing perfect pushups is proper form. Maintaining proper form throughout the exercise is crucial to ensure that you are targeting the correct muscle groups and minimizing the risk of injury. Some key points to keep in mind when performing pushups:
- Keep your head in a neutral position, looking slightly forward, to maintain a straight line from your head to your heels.
- Keep your shoulders back and down, away from your ears, to avoid placing unnecessary stress on your shoulders.
- Keep your core engaged throughout the exercise to support your lower back and maintain proper form.
- Keep your elbows close to your body, at a 45-degree angle, to target your chest and triceps.
- Keep your hands in the correct position, either shoulder-width apart or slightly wider or closer, depending on the variation you are performing.
- Lower your body down slowly, taking about 2-3 seconds, and then push back up with control, taking about 2-3 seconds.
It’s also important to warm up before you start doing push-ups, you can do a few minutes of cardio like jogging in place or jumping jacks, followed by some dynamic stretching to get your body ready for exercise. After push-ups, it’s also important to cool down by stretching the muscle groups you worked, this will help reduce muscle soreness and increase flexibility.
In summary, pushups are a great exercise to target the chest, shoulders, triceps, and core, but it’s important to perform them correctly to avoid injury and to maximize the benefits of the exercise. By following the tips outlined above and gradually increasing the number of reps and sets as you become stronger, you can improve your strength and endurance and achieve your fitness goals.
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