Maximize Your Push Up Workout with These Variations
Pushups are a great basic exercise for getting into shape and staying fit. They provide a complete upper body workout, building strength in the chest, shoulders, upper arms, forearms and wrists as well as developing essential core strength. Pushups also increase your body’s metabolism, helping it to burn fat more efficiently.
However, because muscles quickly adapt to routine exercise, pushups can quickly turn from an exercise that builds strength to one that simply maintains it. Therefore, it is good to know variations in the way you do pushups in order to mix them up and shock the body into producing more muscle strength.
Here are several variations for your push up workout so that you can continue to build strong muscles, improve metabolism and increase athletic ability.
Decline Push Ups
Decline pushups are executed by placing your feet on a chair or other sturdy platform which is elevated above your hands. By elevating your feet, more of your body weight is shifted to your upper body which better benefits your push up workout.
Also, by adjusting the height of your feet, you can better target specific upper body muscle groups. When your feet are at a height of a typical weight bench, more of the abs, triceps and chest muscles are used. Elevating your feet higher will cause more of a workout for your triceps and shoulders.
You can add a weight to your back which will increase the push up workout. However, have someone place the weight on the midsection of your back once in position and not on the lower back which can cause injury.
Crossover Push Ups
Perform this push up exercise by utilizing an aerobic step. Get into push up position with your right hand on the step and your left hand on the floor. Do a normal push up, only explode on the rise and propel yourself sideways, landing with your left hand on the step and your right hand on the floor on the opposite side. Focus on keeping your shoulders level.
This push up variation is a great way to not only build strong upper body muscles, but to also increase explosive power since it is considered a plyometric exercise. Also, the shifting motion causes the abs and obliques to work more as they try to maintain stability.
Superman Push Ups
These pushups aren’t named after the “man of steel” for nothing! Performing superman pushups will build rock-hard shoulder and chest muscles as well as strengthen the mid back and glutes. They also require a great deal of balance which pull the core muscles into play, strengthening them. Keep your torso and legs straight throughout the exercise.
To perform this push up, begin by placing your hands directly underneath your shoulders and spread your legs shoulder width apart. Lower yourself to the floor as in a normal push up, but when you rise, lift one leg off the floor and move the opposite arm up and hold it straight out in front of you like superman. Hold for a moment, return to the down position, lift and repeat with the opposite arm and leg.
T-Roll Push Ups
Begin the T-Roll in the same position as the superman pushup. However, when you rise up, pivot your body and raise one arm straight up, pointing to the ceiling. Your feet should shift from the toes to the sides and your hips should also pivot and remain in line with your upper body so you avoid placing strain on your lower back. With your arm held straight up, your body will form the letter “T”, thus the name of the exercise.
When you reach the full position, hold it for a moment before returning to the starting position. Repeat using the other hand and pivoting to the opposite side. Focus on keeping your back and legs straight at all times.
T-Roll pushups are used by experienced fitness buffs and seasoned athletes to improve a variety of functions. This exercise strengthens the rotational stability of both the shoulders and the hips, and also provides needed exercise for the thighs and glutes, working the lateral muscles of each.
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