Make your push ups better

There’s a reason why push-ups are still extremely relevant today- they work.  The push-up is a multi-joint exercise that targets deltoids, triceps, pecs, and all of your key muscle stabilizers. Another benefit is that it doesn’t require any additional equipment, so you can perform push ups anytime, anywhere. To get results and stay injury free, you must do them with proper form: Maintain your head, neck and spine in neutral position, keep your abs completely engaged, and your lower body (glutes, hips, etc) activated through the movement.

Get started: Learn and practice the traditional push-up with good form. Work your way up to three sets of eight. Once you’re able to perform them without faltering, you’ll be ready to perform the following variations. Mixing up the movements and hand positioning will challenge different muscles, burn more calories and test your endurance. Try these variations one at a time using proper form. Then move on to the next one!

 1. Plank-Ups:

Start in push-up position (hands under shoulders, back flat, legs extended behind you, toes tucked under). Keeping upper body engaged, lower right forearm to floor, placing elbow under shoulder, then lower left forearm to floor. Hold plank for one count, and then rise back up to start, placing one palm on floor at a time.

2. Mountain Climber Push-Up

Start in push-up position, and bring right knee in toward chest; extend leg behind you, and then immediately bring left knee in toward chest; extend leg behind you. Perform a push-up, keeping elbows by sides. Repeat.

3. Bird-Dog Push-Up
Perform a push-up, keeping elbows by sides. Extend right arm in front of you and left leg behind you; hold balance for one count, then lower. Do another push-up, and repeat balance on other side (left arm; right leg). Repeat.

 4. Push-Up Row
Start in push-up position, gripping a kettlebell* in each hand, with palms facing each other. (*Note: The bigger the kettlebell, the more stable you will feel.) Bend elbows behind you, keeping them close to sides, lowering chest toward floor, and then press back up. Once up, pull left elbow behind you, bringing kettlebell up to ribs; lower. Repeat push-up and perform row on the opposite (right) side. Continue alternating sides with each rep.

5. Uneven Push-Up
Start in push-up position (hands under shoulders, abs engaged, back flat, legs extended behind you), with left hand on top of the ball part of a horizontal kettlebell. Without rotating your torso, keeping hips and shoulders square, bend elbows behind you, lowering chest toward floor, and press back up. Do 8 reps; switch sides and repeat.

6. Side Plank Push-Up
Start in push-up position (hands under shoulders, abs engaged, back flat, legs extended behind you). Lower chest toward floor, and then as you press back up, rotate torso to left and keep gaze on your left hand, as you lift your left arm and leg toward the ceiling, forming an X with your body. Hold for one count; rotate back to high plank and repeat.

7. Pike Push-Up
Start in a pike position (upside down “V”), with palms under shoulders, toes centered on top of a stability ball, legs together, hips raised toward ceiling. Keeping lower body still, bend elbows behind you, slowly lowering head toward floor; carefully press back up to start.

Fortza Fit

Efren Rodriguez

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