The most famous, most legendary, most effective, and winner of the best calisthenic exercise goes to…the Push-Up!
Everyone should know how to do a basic two-handed push up. If not, please see the video below to find out how to perform a basic push up:
The basic push-up is safe when done with proper technique, effective at building strength, and easy-to-learn.
Some Various Forms of Push ups:
- Exercise Ball Push ups – Push ups on an exercise ball!
- Wall Push ups – Simple enough for most people. Begin by standing and placing both hands on the wall, step back from the wall with a distance in which your comfortable enough to perform wall push ups and push up away! The closer you are the easier it is to perform this exercise.
- Knee push ups – Instead of being on your feet, you are on your knees while performing a standard push up.
- Diamond (a.k.a. pyramid) push ups – Slide your feet about shoulder width apart. Place both your hands close together, directly under your chest, with the tips of your index fingers and thumbs touching. Your fingers and thumb should form sort of a diamond or “pyramid” or triangle shape. This push up emphasizes the triceps a lot, so it is not uncommon for your arms to fatigue before your chest does.
- Wide push ups – Move your arms further apart to perform the pushup!
- Incline/Decline Push ups – Push ups on an incline or decline position (done with your feet/hands on a couch or other source). A partner can also raise your feet to help you.
- Fist push ups – Push ups on your fists!
- Finger tip push ups – This is advanced. Perform push ups on your fingers only – not your palms (advance even further by decreasing the number of fingers used to perform the exercise)!
- Hindu Push ups – This may be a funny push up done in Yoga, but it’s also effective. To begin, place your legs wide somewhat far apart (for balance), your hands planted on the ground in front of you, and raise your midsection into the air so that your body forms an upside-down V shape (your arms should be straight but not locked). Begin the exercise by diving forward toward the ground head first and bending the arms (FYI you don’t literally dive into the ground, so don’t kamikaze yourself and injure or break your head) – when close the ground swoop back up in a forward motion and use the arms to push yourself back up – simultaneously, bring the hips down when your head is swooping. You’ll notice a wave like motion as this is how it is performed. Hands and feet never leave their original position.
- Clapping Push ups – At the bottom of your push up, be ready to explode upwards enough to go in the air for a split second – in this split second you will clap your hands and bring them back them down to the original position.
- One Handed Push ups – Using just one arm to perform a push up. You may need to spread your legs wider for balance. Your other arm should go behind your back or be extended out in the air for even more balance.
- “Rocky” Push ups – These are one-handed push ups where you push yourself into the air and alternate between left and right arms. Obviously made famous by Sylvester Stallone in the movie, “Rocky.”
- Hand Stand Push ups – Very advanced and performed with no part of your body on the ground except your hands. You may use a wall or a partner to balance yourself for this. If you are comfortable with your body’s conditioning, you may perform a full hand stand push up with no assistance, which leads to the next amazing push up:
- Planche Push ups – Similar to the Hand Stand Pushup, this push up uses nothing but your hands except you assume the push up positio, however, your feet do not touch the ground! (A wall may be used to assist you when doing exercise at first). This may sound impossible, but it is possible and is performed by gymnasts and other athletes. It is extremely difficult and requires spectacular upper body strength AND balance. This is also known as “Pseudo Planche” push ups. Watch the video below:
**Please be advised that you should not perform any advanced forms of push ups until you know your own body and its limits.
Anyone looking to build lean muscle mass should incorporate push-ups into their regime. When your body becomes accustomed to one type of push up exercise, switch to another push up technique. This is very effective at building strength and muscle mass.
Common Mistakes with Push ups
Please watch the basic video in the last section and watch closely at technique. His entire body is completely straight from head to toe! Proper technique will ensure you are performing the calisthenic exercise effectively.
Please take note of these common mistakes (unless noted otherwise):
- Warm up your muscles and get your heart rate up before performing push ups by jogging, or jump rope etc.
- The first mistake is raising or lowering the hips too much, you should be in a straight line head to toe!
- Breathing – Exhale when you go up, inhale while going down
- Try not to lock your elbows as doing so this stresses your joints unnecessarily
- Stretch! Before and after performing push ups.
- Position your hands and feet accordingly to the type of push up you perform. This this is critical in some forms of push-ups to avoid injury.
Pushing yourself to do 10, then 20, and 30 push ups, etc. can be very challenging, but it is a gradual process. If you can only do 10 push ups today tell yourself your goal for next week is 15 or 20. You get there by adding another push up or two in everyday until you achieve it. You have to raise the bar for yourself when it comes to exercise. Remember that if you do not go that extra step, you’ll never be able to reach your goals.
Some of you may go ballistic and go from 10 push ups today to 50 push ups tomorrow thinking it will be more effective. I advise you not to do this as you can potentially injure yourself. So, push yourself in incremental steps steadily and make realistic goals. You want to continue getting stronger as well as maintaining the consistency, not self yourself back due to an injury. There is no better tool out there for consistent push-ups then The Perfect Pushup. Hundreds of thousands have been sold for a reason! Perform push ups naturally and effectively be amazed with the results.