The Best Pushup Improvements

The Classic
Good for: General upper-body conditioning

Balance your weight on your toes and palms, with your hands a comfortable
distance apart, probably just beyond shoulder-width. Your body should form a
straight line from your ankles to your head. Squeeze your glutes and brace your
abdominals, and keep them that way for the duration of the exercise. Slowly
lower yourself to the floor, pause, and push yourself back up. Repeat a few
hundred times.

Variations: Three-point pushup (place one foot on top of the other to make
the exercise a little more challenging); decline pushup (set your feet on a
bench or chair to strengthen your shoulders); and triceps pushup (place your
hands close together, directly under your shoulders, and keep your elbows tucked
close to your sides as you lower your body—an adjustment that shifts the work
from your chest to your arms).

 

 

Rotational Pushup

Good for: Athletic performance in sports involving torso rotation, such as
tennis, hockey, and baseball

Assume the classic pushup position, but as
you come up, rotate your body so your right arm lifts up and extends overhead.
Your arms and torso should form a T. Return to the starting position, lower
yourself, then push up and rotate till your left hand points toward the
ceiling.

Variations: One-dumbbell (grip a dumbbell in one hand, rotate to
the dumbbell side for half your repetitions, then switch the dumbbell to the
other hand); two-dumbbell (grip dumbbells in both hands, and alternate sides
when you come up).

Barbell Pushup

Good for: Stability of midsection, shoulder; grip strength

Get into
the classic pushup position with your hands on a barbell (the kind that can roll
away if you don’t keep it steady). Knock out the pushups, but not yourself—keep
in mind that one slip can send you crashing teeth-first into the floor.

Plank

Good for: Posture; midsection endurance and stability

Lie facedown,
rest your weight on your forearms and toes, tuck your hips, and hold your body
in a straight line from ankles to shoulders for 5 seconds. Do a total of 10
5-second holds.

Variations: When 5-second holds are easy, progress to
longer holds, until you can stay in the position for 30 seconds. Next, try a
regular push up position with your hips tucked. When you can hold that for 30
seconds, try it on your knuckles.

walking pushup

Good for: Abdominal development; shoulder stability

Set up in the
classic pushup position on a smooth floor, and place your feet on a towel. Walk
with your hands across the room, turn, and walk back. Keep your back flat
throughout the movement.

 

 

 

Plyometric Pushup

Good for: Developing upper-body power

Set up in the classic position
on a well-padded carpet or exercise mat. Push up hard enough for your hands to
come off the floor and catch some air. When you hit the floor, go immediately
into the next repetition, pushing up again as hard as you can and catching more
air.

suspended pushup

Good for: Upper-body strength and stability

Wrap a pair of straps (or
chains) around a chinup bar or the crossbar of a power rack. At the bottom, the
straps should be about 12 inches off the floor. Attach gymnastics-type rings (or
a straight bar) to the ends of the straps

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