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Perfect Pushup Workout

by
author image Leigh Stewart
Situated in Fiji’s Yasawa Islands, Leigh Stewart has been writing, teaching yoga, and inspiring the work of others since 2011. Her work has been featured on MindBodyGreen, MyYogaOnline and Nourish Organic. She holds degrees in English and sociology from Wesleyan University and uses her background in writing to engage yogis of all ages across the globe.
Perfect Pushup Workout
Keeping your eyes focused on the floor in front of you by 6-12 inches will maintain alignment in the upper spine. Photo Credit Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

Pushups are the ultimate upper-body workout. When done with proper form, a series of pushup variations can target muscles in the arms, shoulders, chest and core. Over time, the repetition of a pushup series will build strength and lean definition through the arms and core. Depending on your strength and athleticism, pushups can be done in longer or shorter sets than indicated below. The most important part is that you maintain good form for each pushup completed.

Warmup

Step 1

Build some heat before you move into your pushup circuit. Start with two minutes of jogging.

Step 2

Add one to two minutes of jumping rope to get the heart rate up.

Step 3

Finish the warmup with a minute in a plank position on the forearms to engage through the core, preparing for your pushup series.

Wide Pushups

Step 1

Wide pushups work the muscles in the backs of the shoulders and the core. Bring your hands slightly wider than your shoulders. If you have strong shoulders, you can start with the hands as far as two to three feet apart. If you are exploring wide pushups for the first time, start with the hands slightly wider than your usual pushup and work your way out over time.

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Step 2

Lower your body, drawing belly to spine to maintain a flat back, until your upper arms become parallel with the floor. If you are new to these or any other pushups, dropping your knees is a modification that can be used to practice proper form.

Step 3

Do a total of 10 reps, and repeat the set three times.

Chaturanga Pushups

Step 1

Moving to chaturanga pushups, bring your hands directly under your shoulders from a plank position.

Step 2

Take your weight forward as you come forward onto your toes.

Step 3

Lower your elbows until they graze the bottom of the ribs, bringing your elbows to a 90 degree angle.

Step 4

Engaging your front-body core, press back up and repeat in sets of ten reps. This motion will work triceps while working shoulders like the wide pushups. Repeat for three sets. Lowering onto your knees is recommended if Chaturanga pushups are new.

Diamond Pushups

Step 1

Diamond pushups rely on triceps strength while minimizing core work. Of all triceps workouts, diamond pushup are the most effective in building triceps strength. Start in your plank position, bringing your index fingers and thumbs to touch in a diamond shape.

Step 2

Lower your chest down as close to the hands as you can and press up.

Step 3

Do 10 reps and a total of three sets.

Staggered Pushups

Step 1

Place your right hand under your right shoulder and your left hand 6 inches ahead of the right.

Step 2

Lower as you would for your even pushups. Do 10 reps on each side and repeat for two sets, right and left sides.

Step 3

If you are feeling adventurous, you can switch your stagger from one pushup to the next by pressing down with your right hand forward and lifting the hands off the ground as you press up to land with your left hand in front and your right hand under the shoulder.

Uneven Pushups

Step 1

Move into your uneven pushups by elevating the right hand on any medium-sized ball that is firm enough to stabilize the wrist.

Step 2

Leave your left palm on the ground.

Step 3

Both hands should be directly under the shoulders. Repeat 10 reps on each side for two sets for a total of 40 uneven pushups.

Clapping Pushups

Step 1

Add some zest to your pushups -- the workout's almost complete! Try a round of clapping pushups by lowering elbows to ribs and using the muscles as you press up to bring the hands to clap before landing in pushup position.

Step 2

To maximize strength through the arms and shoulders and to take any pressure out of the spine, work to land with elbows in toward the body and bent.

Step 3

Do as many as you can, working your way up to a set of 10.

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References

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