Chest Exercises - Pushups
Muscles Targeted: Push ups do wonders to strengthen the
muscles in the chest, shoulders, triceps, back, core, legs and even
your toes get into the picture. It's also a very good core exercise
that works abdominal, oblique and hip flexor muscles. Because the
push up is done with the hands on the ground, this is a unique pushing
exercise that can strengthen the hands and wrists.
Exercise Advice: Begin with the hands about shoulder width
apart with your fingers pointing forwards or slightly inward. Keep
your entire body strait and stiff by bracing your abs and tightening
your quads. It's also helpful to tighten the gluteus muscles in
your butt to add more core stability. Lower yourself down to the
floor by bending at the elbow joint while keeping your whole body
tense and stiff. Pause when you're an inch or two from the floor
or when you're touching the floor but not resting on it. Press yourself
back up by straitening your arms until they are strait but not locked
Things To Avoid: The key to a great push up is to have no
movement in your body except at the elbow joint. Your hips, chin,
chest and forehead shouldn't sag as if they were reaching for the
floor. Also keep in mind where you're elbows track during each rep.
Ideally, your elbows shouldn't stick out to the side. Keep them
close to your rib cage or let them rest at about a 45 degree angle
at your shoulders. Be sure they track in a strait line through your
range of motion. It's not uncommon for the elbow to "circle"
by moving outwards as the body is pressed up from the floor.
Reps and Sets: The push up lends itself well to between
3-5 sets, but even a single set can be good for warming up at the
start of a workout. Repetitions depend on your strength levels but
between 10-15 reps is a great range to work in.
Other Exercises To Use: Pair the push up with the bench
press or pectoral
flys to add intensity or emphasis on the chest muscles. The
push up also goes well with dips
presses for more upper body pressing strength.
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