March 10, 2010
Ok, so push-ups may not be the newest or most creative exercise known to man, but the reality is this no equipment necessary exercise is tried and true when it comes to strengthening the chest, shoulders, arms, and core. The key to success in this exercise is correct form and also selecting a variation that is best suited for your current ability level. In doing so you will be able to complete this exercise both safely and effectively.
What are my options?
A great beginner level option to start with is the bent knee push-up. This variation allows you the opportunity to become more familiar with proper technique while still reaping the same muscle strengthening benefits as the traditional version of the exercise. If you notice any discomfort in the wrists you may opt to use dumbbells or grip handles instead of placing hands directly on the floor when completing this exercise in order to reduce the amount of stress being placed on the joints. Another great option that also helps to reduce joint strain is wall push-ups, which are completed in a standing position.
As you develop strength and become more comfortable with the mechanics of the above mentioned variations you may choose then to progress to the full version of the push-up, as detailed in the video below.
For those looking for an increased challenge and twist on the traditional push-up, trying adding a single-leg raise to the exercise or perhaps considering incorporating a portable piece of equipment, such as a stability ball, TRX or Perfect Pushup.
Jessica Matthews, MS, E-RYTContributor
Jessica Matthews, M.S., E-RYT is assistant professor of exercise science at Miramar College. As a leading fitness expert, writer and educator Jessica is a regular contributor to numerous publications, including Shape and Oprah.com. She holds a B.S. in physical education teacher education from Coastal Carolina University and M.S. in physical education from Canisius College. She is a certified Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor and Health Coach through the American Council on Exercise (ACE) as well as an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT) through Yoga Alliance and trained stand-up paddleboard (SUP) yoga instructor. Prior to teaching at Miramar, Jessica worked full-time ACE, serving in a number of key roles including exercise physiologist, certification director and senior health and fitness editor. Her past work also includes serving as aquatics director at Conway Medical Wellness and Fitness Center and designing health and physical education curriculum for grades K-12. Full Bio Jessica Matthews »