All sorts of fitness trends come and go. But one exercise that will live forever is the push up.
It’s not just an exercise to strengthen and develop the muscles of the upper body. The push ups also builds your arms and it improves core strength (from your shoulders to your hips.)
I strongly believe people should practice and improve their push ups for the rest of their lives. Yes, I believe it is THAT useful.
The ability to perform quality push ups is a sign of superb conditioning.
When we think of a push up challenge, we usually think of one that requires us to do a lot of reps. A lot of volume. That approach works just fine but I wanted to include other useful training objectives.
In this challenge we have four different training objectives, one per week.
You don’t want to over-train, so each week you will do only two workouts. This gives you 2-3 days to rest in between.
We start off the challenge by performing basic push ups in week #1. Nothing fancy, just traditional push ups. Here are a few key pointers you should consider:
In week #2 you will do feet-elevated push ups, single leg push ups and hand release push ups (hrpu).
Performing push ups with your feet elevated is about applying more resistance to the movement. And by simply switching the angle of the exercise, we tap into slightly different muscles.
Single leg push ups are so underrated in my opinion. In this variation we are focusing on core and hip stability. Make sure you avoid shifting your body towards one side as you perform the push ups.
Perform the push ups with just a single leg on the ground, the other leg remains in the air. If you struggle in keeping your body straight or if the quality of the push ups diminishes, take note of the leg that remains on the floor. More often than not, that hip/ankle is weaker than the other.
Hand release push ups have become my go-to-exercise to improve my clients’ form. How you say?
For one, they require you to go all the way down. This ensures you are working your muscles through a full range of motion. Secondly, it requires a brief pause at the bottom. This eliminates momentum and other jerky movements. The person has to produce force from a dead stop position, just using pure strength.
The workout for this week consists of performing 8-10 push ups with a 4 second count towards the ground.
You will do this single exercise 4 times with 2 minutes of rest in betweens sets.
Now it’s time to add some speed to your push ups so that you may be able to recruit your fast-twitch muscle fibers.
These muscle fibers have the disposition to grow and to get stronger more effectively than their slow-twitch counterpart.
To accomplish this you’ll have to perform explosive push ups such as plyo push ups.
If you find yourself not bouncing off the floor quickly with your plyo push ups, then it is best to either perform them on top of a bench or opt to do quick hindu push ups instead.