Did you have to do push-ups in school gym?
Did you hate them?
When starting out this exercise, push-ups can “feel” harder than other arm workouts–but they’re a simple and safe move that everyone should do. Integrating push-ups into your workout every other day can quickly improve the strength and tone of your shoulders, arms and your chest, and put you on the path to a strong and sexy upper body.
Check out our three ways to get started with push-ups, followed by a couple of fun variations to challenge your workout!
Key Tips for Push-ups:
-If you feel the muscle tiring and shaking a lot, stop. NEVER over-exert yourself on push-ups–this can lead to injury.
-Stop to rest any time you need to; we recommend 30-60 seconds of rest time between sets.
-Keep your neck and body straight.
-Remember to keep your core abs tight!
-Grab a friend and challenge each other to do push-ups! It will keep the rep numbers up where they need to be.
-Listening to a good music beat will keep you in push-up rhythm and complete your set.
Push-up #1: The Easy Breezy
Step 1 Lower yourself to the ground facing the floor. Lift yourself up and position your hands shoulder-width apart. Keeping your legs together, bend the knees and cross your ankles in the air for extra support. Your body is now at a gentle angle to the floor.
Step 2 Keeping your abs tight and your body straight, lower yourself slowly, then push back up. Don’t bend at the waist or stick your, ahem, behind in the air.
Step 3 Repeat the move. Aim for 3 sets of 10 push-ups, but DON’T WORRY if you can’t meet this goal right away. You can build up with push-ups! These are fun and you can do them at home, in the office or at the gym.
Push-up #2: A Little Elevation
Step 1 Stand facing a staircase with both feet flat on the floor a few inches in front of the bottom step. Place your hands shoulder-width apart on the front edge of a step so your body is at roughly a 45-degree angle to the floor. Keeping your abs tight and your body straight, lower yourself slowly, then push back up. Do 1 set of 10.
Step 2 Position your feet about 6 inches away from the stairs and place your hands one step lower. Aim for 10-15 pushups, and take breaks as you need them. We recommend 30 seconds.
Step 3 Repeat the move, but this time back your feet a few more inches away from the stairs and lower your hands another step. Repeat until you run out of stairs and can do 10 on the floor.
Push-up #3: Gimme Ten!
Step 1 Lie down on the floor face down with your feet close together. Place your hands shoulder-width apart.
Step 2 While maintaining a straight body–keep your abs tight!–lower yourself down until your chest touches the ground. Do not lock your elbows and let your weight go.
Step 3 Push yourself up. That’s one rep! Now repeat, going a little faster. Complete a set of 10 standard “military-style” push-ups, and aim for three sets.
- The Diamond Push-up: Start in standard push-up “Gimme Ten” stance, but using your forefingers and thumbs, bring your hands together, palms flat on the floor, to form a diamond shape with the fingers. Lower per standard push-up. Aim for a set of 10.
- The One-Handed Push-up: Cue the theme to Rocky and get ready to show the world what you’re made of! Starting in standard push-up position, place one hand behind your back and lower yourself to the ground. Raise your body back up. You can try a set of 5 on each side or alternate arms.
- The Back Elevated Push-up: This requires lifting your legs higher off the ground on an elevated surface, such as a weightlifting bench. It adds a little more “oomph” to the standard push-up. Check out the instructional video at the bottom of this post!
You don’t have to follow these suggestions exactly—find the push-up stance and variation that works for you. There are plenty of instructional videos out there to show you ways to do push-ups indoors and outdoors. You’ll be on your way to a beautifully toned upper body in no time!