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#FitnessFacts: PUSH UPS

February 03, 2013 2 min read


-The primary muscles targeted in pushups are the pectoralis major, anterior deltoids and triceps. But there are also many other muscle groups used during pushups, such as the quads & core, which make this a total body exercise.

-Total body exercises generally produce a greater calorie burn than isolation exercises, & can create a more cardio-driven & metabolic workout.

-There are infinite variations of pushups, each with different benefits. Simply lifting a leg or elevating the legs (or both!) can dramatically raise the intensity of the exercise.

-Pushups done on the knees are a very effective way of simplifying military push ups, while still getting many of the same benefits.

-If military pushups are difficult for you, there are many ways to work up to them. For example, you could perform a knee pushup, then raise up to the toes, lower back to the knees, and repeat.

-Incline pushups (feet on the floor, hands on a higher object) are easier than the basic military pushup & simulate doing decline bench press. These primarily target the lower angle of the chest.

-Decline pushups (feet on a higher object, hands on floor) require more strength than many of the other types of pushups because they involve pushing more body weight. These simulate doing an incline bench press and primarily stimulate the upper area of the chest, as well as the deltoids and triceps.

-If pushups put too much pressure on your wrists, try holding on to dumbbells or any other type of handles (like the “Perfect Pushup” tool in the picture).

-Form Tips: Keep a neutral spine- flex your abs to keep your back from arching. Also, don’t let your hips be too high or too low- have a straight line from head to knees/toes. Contract your abs to prevent your lower back from over arching. It’s really important to get full range of motion in your exercises- so get a deep 90 degree bend in the elbows at the bottom, and full extension (without locking the elbows) at the top.

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