Increase Upper Body Strength!

by Jackie on September 27, 2012

Doing pushups targets your shoulder, triceps, chest, back, and core muscles.  Pushups are a perfect at home exercise and no equipment is needed.  Chest exercises like pushups are great for strengthening your upper body and improving your overall athletic performance.  If you are just beginning a fitness routine you will need to increase upper body strength before attempting traditional pushups. Begin with a kneeling pushup or do pushups on an incline rather than on the floor. 

Pushups are a great exercise to add to your workout!  In addition to building strength, pushups force the heart to work harder and blood to pump faster which increases metabolism and burns more calories.  Whether you are currently exercising or have yet to start an exercise routine, try squeezing 10 minutes of pushups into your daily routine and you will see great results from minimal effort!

There are several variations of pushups for you to try.  If you are just starting an upper body exercise routine, it is best to start with the kneeling or incline pushup and work your way up to more difficult pushups as your strength increases.  As soon as you can perform an exercise for the full three sets of 12 reps, progress to the next one and keep working your way up!

 

Kneeling Pushup

  • Assume pushup position with back flat, abs tight, knees on floor close together and hands slightly wider than shoulder-width
  • Slowly descend, keeping elbows to sides and head slightly up, until chest is two inches above ground
  • Hold for one or two seconds
  • Raise yourself slowly to start position
  • Repeat for eight to 12 reps

 

Incline Pushup

  • Assume a pushup position, placing your hands slightly wider than your shoulders on a box, bench, or step instead of the floor. This reduces the amount of your body weight you have to lift, making the exercise easier.  Your body should form a straight line from your ankles to your head.
  • Slowly descend, keeping elbows to sides and head slightly up, until chest is two inches above surface
  • Hold for one or two seconds
  • Raise yourself slowly to start position
  • Repeat for eight to 12 reps

 

Pushup

  • Assume pushup position with back flat, abs tight, feet close together and hands slightly wider than shoulder-width
  • Slowly descend, keeping elbows to sides and head slightly up, until chest is two inches above ground
  • Hold for one or two seconds
  • Raise yourself slowly to start position
  • Repeat for eight to 12 reps

 

Stacked-Feet Pushup

  • Assume a pushup position, placing one foot on top of the other so that only the lower one supports your body.
  • Slowly descend, keeping elbows to sides and head slightly up, until chest is two inches above ground
  • Hold for one or two seconds
  • Raise yourself slowly to start position
  • Repeat for eight to 12 reps

 

Decline Pushup

  • Kneel on floor and position your body about two to three feet away from an elevated step, bench, or box
  • Place your hands flat on the ground slightly wider than shoulder-width
  • Place your toes on the elevated step, bench, or box
  • If your legs are not fully extended from this position, maneuver your hands and body forward
  • Slowly descend, keeping elbows to sides and head slightly up, until chest is two to three inches above ground
  • Hold for one or two seconds
  • Raise yourself slowly to start position
  • Repeat for eight to 12 reps

 

 

When performing pushups, experiment with your hand placement to work different muscles.  Start on your knees initially and don’t try to perform exercises beyond your strength level or training experience. Follow the pushup progression above and begin with the kneeling pushup.  Once you can do three sets of 12 reps, advance to the incline pushup and finally, work your way up to the decline pushup.  If you have a stability ball and have mastered all of the pushup exercises listed above you can try stability ball pushups and pushups with your feet on the stability ball.

Jackie

Jackie

Health Contributor at Creative Bioscience
I’m a fitness nut. I know what you’re thinking, one of these people who has never been fat a day in her life, and can eat whatever she wants. The truth is I struggled with my weight growing up and lived in a household where everything seemed to be fried. Once I got away from home I realized I had the choice to eat and exercise how I wanted. I’ve gained a lot of insight into working as a personal trainer, and feel I can relate to others that were in my situation. I think if I can do it then you can to, and if you want to start kicking butt then hop on board and lets get started. Jackie’s favorite product is the 10 Day Diet
Jackie

Latest posts by Jackie (see all)

Jackie

Leave a Comment