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Paige Waehner

Exercise of the Week - Pushups

By May 6, 2008

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One thing my clients universally agree on is that pushups are hard, especially for my female clients. Pushups are a favorite of mine because they make my clients so miserable. Did I say that? I meant to say I like pushups because they work so many muscle groups: the chest, shoulders and arms as well as the abs, back and legs for stabilization. I also like that there are so many variations so, no matter what your fitness level is, you can find a pushup that works for you. Last, being able to push your own body weight off the floor is a useful skill to have, especially if you're a klutz like me.

Below, I'm listing my favorite pushup variations, from beginner to advanced, and I challenge you to try at least one version of pushups today:

Wall Pushups:  If you're just getting started with pushups, the wall pushup (or, as shown here, on a stair railing) is a great way to give your body support while you practice your form.  By staying upright, you don't have to lift all your body weight.  Once you perfect this version, you can move on to a more challenging version below.

Pushups on the Knees:  For this version, you're on your knees with the back flat and the abs contracted.  Being on your knees makes the move easier than when you're on your toes.
Modified BOSU Balance Trainer Pushup:  This pushup is shown using a BOSU, which adds a core challenge but also can make the move a little easier, since your upper body is elevated.  You can also do this on a step or platform.
Pushups:  Traditional pushups are done on your hands and toes, a real challenge for the upper body as well as the core.  If you having trouble doing full pushups, try keeping one knee down for support.
Pushups on the ball:  Decline pushups are more advanced and placing your feet on a ball will add even more intensity.  You can always put the knees/thighs on the ball to make the move easier.
May 6, 2008 at 1:33 pm
(1) ctlyricist says:

its all about angles and variation. i usually do a set of regular.then a set of incline. then a set of declines. all in one seesion.
i got this barrel chest for a reason :-)

May 6, 2008 at 2:37 pm
(2) On a Limb with Claudia says:

I do scorpion, close grip (sometimes called triangle), and a hole bunch more. They are always hard – but well worth it in balancing muscle groups. Moreover, my neck and upper back pain is almost nill.

May 6, 2008 at 3:01 pm
(3) Wasoon, Trainer says:

How about some Walking Pushups – where you get in the plank(upright position of the pushup)extend one arm forward, pushup, extend the other arm forward past the other , while tippy-toeing forward with your feet to catch up with your lower body. Also – another nice one is Lateral Pushups on the ladder – face the extended ladder laterally – put one hand in the first space between rungs and the other hand in the next – pushup, walk laterally with your hands and tippy-toe with your feet to the next set of spaces – pushup, and continue laterally. I just tried and bought a set of those pushup handles that rotate with your arms – I like them.

May 6, 2008 at 9:35 pm
(4) mark says:

as with any exercise you need a wide varitity of push up. look at hindu push ups

May 7, 2008 at 2:15 am
(5) CB says:

push ups have always been difficult for me.
I do not know how to position my upper body.
Where should I place my hands, shoulders, elbows?
After alot of work after shoulder injury I was able to master a pushup with my hands close in and my elbows facing back. Anything else and I just collapse.
Please advise.

May 13, 2008 at 8:43 am
(6) Celeste Goff says:

Ah ha! Finally, a personal trainer admitting to enjoying making their clients miserable! LOL.

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