pushupsPush-ups – it’s an exercise we love to hate, but one that works a variety of muscle groups. Each time you push your body off the floor against gravity, you work your pecs, triceps, and the muscles in your core. You also strengthen the muscles that stabilize your back. This gives you more resistance to injury when you do other exercises. Since you’re using your own body weight, you can do push-ups without any equipment. When you don’t have access to weights, drop down on the floor and do a few sets. How’s that for convenience? Still, you have to work hard enough to challenge your muscles. Are you doing that? Progressing with Push-Ups No matter how many push-ups you can do now, you’ll need to increase the stimulus you place on your muscles over time to continue to get benefits. It’s all about progressive overload, right? Unfortunately, many people get into a comfort zone and never change the style of push-ups they do or even the number. Your body adapts to that approach fairly quickly. Complacency here will kill your progress ! Push-up progression is the key to success – making push-ups more challenging over time so you challenge the many muscles push-ups work even more. When you first started out, you may have done push-ups with your knees on the floor, rather than on your toes. In the early stages, you can even do them standing by pushing against a wall, but over time, you gradually build up the strength to do full push-ups on your toes. If you’re STILL doing push-ups on your knees, it’s time to work towards doing standard push-ups on your toes. If you’ve tried to do push-ups on your toes and were unsuccessful, you can make things easier by placing your hands on a bench so your body is elevated. A step riser works well for this. Start by doing one or two push-ups with your hands higher than your toes. Then drop to your knees to complete the rest of the set. Slowly, over time, increase the number you do on your toes with your hands on a step with one or two risers. Begin by using a step with several risers or even a sturdy table to support your hands until you build up more strength. Then gradually lower the height of the step for more of a challenge. Suppose you can’t complete a full push-up on your toes. Build up your strength by lowering your body as low as you can on your toes and hold the lowest push-up position you can isometrically. The next time you do it, hold the position even longer. Work towards lowering your body all the way down. What If You’re Already Doing Full Push-Ups? Once you can knock out 20 push-ups in a row using good form, it’s time to increase the challenge. When standard push-ups become easy, you’re no longer building strength. Challenge yourself to work harder by doing decline push-ups – push-ups with your feet elevated. The higher the elevation, the harder the exercise will be. Start by placing your feet on a low step and increase the height as your strength and endurance improve. Make sure your elbows are at a 45-degree angle with your body and you aren’t arching your back during the exercise. Bottom line is this if you want to progress with your push-ups you have to change it up so trying different styles adding more wraps slowing down the tempo are all great variations and who doesn’t want to strong upper body and core?