Pushing Past Normal Push-Ups
There are a few gold standards when it comes to diet and exercise. These recommendations follow us our whole lives and they are, for the most part, unimpeachable.
Yet, we rarely follow them.
Ideas like drinking more water, going out for a walk every day, and doing push-ups are rarely debated, always celebrated and… almost too simple for their own good.
Today, I want to talk about the pesky push-up. Their benefits are clear:
- No equipment necessary
- Works upperbody, including triceps, pecs, and shoulder
- Engages lower back and core
- … and they’re quick
In the grand scheme of our busy days, there really isn’t much excuse for not getting down on the ground and getting 10, 15, or even 20 push-ups right now.
(Fine. Hold that thought.)
Okay. But besides their deceptive ease, there’s often another element to the push-up that holds us back:
They stop working.
Or at least, they seem to stop working. After a month or so of concerted effort, we hit a plateau.
Before we can address it, though, we should understand why we hit those plateaus. Called the general adaptation syndrome, this can set in anywhere from 4 to 16 weeks after you start your new workout plan. In short, your body gets used to the workout and you’ll have to change something to keep improving.
So if you want to keep pushing it with push-ups, read on for a few recommendations of different push-up styles which allow you to increase the difficulty of your workout without losing its ease and convenience.
6 Different Push-Ups To Get You Past Your Push-Up Plateau
Diamond Push-Ups - By positioning your hands together so your two thumbs and two index fingers touch (making the shape of a diamond!), you get a narrower shoulder width that activates your pecs more.
Wide Arm Push-Ups - To engage your chest, shoulders, and back more, move your hands out wider. Experiment with the width to vary your workout.
Staggered Arm Push-Ups - Great for isolating your arms, performing Staggered Arm Push-Ups is done by putting one arm on an elevated surface (like a book). When you descend, the other side of your body is forced to do more of the work.
Incline Push-Ups - While this can work well in both directions, the more intense workout will come with your feet elevated. Then if you want to squeeze in a bit more work, switch it around afterward.
Side Kick Push-Ups - This helps to strengthen your shoulders and your core as you bring one knee up to your elbow as you descend, then straighten back out. Switch it up for the next rep.
Clap Push-Ups - Ideal for building more explosive strength and attracting everyone’s attention, this requires you to push up off the ground with enough time to clap your hands in front of your chest (or, once you’re comfortable enough, behind your back!).
You’ll find that while you may not be able to do quite as many of these variations as you were able to do before with standard push-ups, you’ll be back to getting quality workouts that get you closer to your fitness goals (which you can celebrate with this Strength Training IRLA Pack).
What about you? Do push-ups have a place in your normal fitness routine?