The push-up is without a doubt the first muscle-building activity most people try out but somewhere along the line they discover weight training and the age-old technique is discarded. This is very sad considering it is one of the most complete bodyweight exercises that target your chest, abs, arms and shoulder – pretty much every upper body muscle.
Specifically, the muscles the exercise targets are the abdominal muscles, the pectorals, the deltoids and the triceps. How exclusively each muscle is targeted will depend on the variation of the push-up you’re going to do. For example, the further apart your hands are the more you’ll work the chest and the closer you bring your arms the more you’ll work the triceps.
How to do a standard push-up
- Get down on all fours and place your hands a little wider than your shoulders.
- Keep your feet together and strengthen your arms and legs. Make sure that your entire body is in one straight line, from head to toe.
- Keeping your elbows close, lower your chest till it’s just one inch above the floor
- Hold this position for a second and bring your body up.
The entire set of motions mentioned above is just one rep. Do this at least 15 times to complete a set and try and do at least three sets. If you’ve trouble doing proper push-ups you can start off with knee push-ups or incline push-ups (where your hands are on a higher plane so you’re not flat on the ground) and slowly strengthen your upper body so you can become strong enough to do standard ones.
If you find the standard push-up too easy, you can try these more advanced variations.