push ups

Pushup training? Start with these 2 easy regressions

The Pushup is the most popular exercises within calisthenics/bodyweight fitness, and for good reason. You can do them anywhere, and they’re excellent for developing chest muscles and triceps. In this blog post, we cover everything about push-ups. You’ll discover variations, tips to enhance your technique, equipment for training push-ups at home, and answers to frequently asked questions about push-ups.


How to do a pushup

To perform the push-up correctly, place your hands at shoulder-width and slightly below shoulder height. Additionally, turn your hands slightly toward each other, causing your elbows to rotate outward.

Next, engage your entire body. From your neck to your heels, maintain a straight line. It’s crucial to lightly push your shoulder blades forward/downward, often described as a protracted/depressed scapula position.

Lower yourself while keeping your elbows diagonally pointing backward. When viewed from above, a push-up should resemble an arrow.

Key points to focus on during the descent include keeping your entire body straight and not letting your shoulders sag backward. Concentrate on tightening your abdominal, leg, and glute muscles, and push your shoulders slightly forward – and you’re good to go!

With 2 exercises towards your first pushup

To train towards your first pushup, we utilize easier progressions. For this, you have two options: knee push ups and incline push ups.

Knee push ups

To modify push-ups and make them more accessible, opt for the knee variation. This adjustment is particularly effective when performed on a soft surface, such as a fitness mat, to alleviate any potential discomfort in the knees.

Maintain the same fundamental technique employed in standard push-ups. Ensure a controlled descent, allowing your elbows to gently rotate outward during the movement. Additionally, focus on activating and engaging your leg and glute muscles throughout the exercise. This modification not only facilitates building strength but also provides a supportive entry point for those working towards achieving their first push-up.

Incline push ups

Incorporating incline push-ups into your routine provides a versatile way to adjust the intensity of your pressing exercises. The beauty of this variation lies in its adaptability— the higher the incline, the lighter the exercise, making it an excellent stepping stone for those working towards mastering traditional push-ups.

To start, find a comfortable level for your incline push-ups, such as using a high table or desk. Place your hands on the elevated surface, maintaining a straight line from your head to your heels, and push yourself up eight times. Repeat this for a total of 4 sets, ensuring at least 90 seconds of rest between each set.

As you progress and find the exercise becoming more manageable, gradually decrease the height of your incline. Transition to a chair, bench, or, if you have access to a gym, a plyo box. This stepwise approach allows you to progressively build strength and proficiency, eventually leading you to confidently perform push-ups on the ground. Consistency and gradual progression are key to achieving your goal of mastering the standard push-up.

6 Pushup variations

Once you can perform 10 push-ups on the ground, it’s time to switch to a new, more challenging variation. Below, you’ll find 5 different variations that you can incorporate into your training once you’ve mastered the standard push-up.

Diamon push up

The diamond push-up is a variation that targets the triceps with added intensity. In this form, position your hands close together, creating a triangular shape by spreading your fingers and connecting your thumbs and index fingers. This hand placement not only challenges your triceps but also engages different muscle groups compared to the standard push-up, providing a well-rounded upper body workout.

Include the diamond push-up in your routine once you’ve mastered the basics, and feel the burn in your triceps as you work towards greater strength and definition.

Wide grip pushup

In the wide-grip push-up, the emphasis shifts towards targeting the chest muscles and shoulders. To perform this variation, position your hands wider than shoulder-width apart. This hand placement not only intensifies the engagement of the chest but also places additional stress on the shoulder muscles. Incorporating wide-grip push-ups into your routine adds variety and challenges different areas of your upper body.

Decline pushup

The decline push-up serves as the counterpart to the previously mentioned incline push-up for beginners. In this variation, elevate your feet on a surface while placing your hands on the ground. This adjustment shifts the focus more onto your shoulder muscles.

By incorporating the decline push-up into your routine, you create a dynamic challenge for your upper body. This variation not only engages your shoulders but also intensifies the activation of your chest and triceps. Elevating your feet adds an extra element of difficulty, making it an excellent progression for those seeking to enhance their overall upper body strength.

As you master the standard push-up, introducing variations like the decline push-up provides a pathway to continued growth and development. Embrace the challenge, and witness the positive impact on your shoulder and upper body strength.

Pike pushup

If you’re aiming to progress towards a handstand push-up, the pike push-up serves as a valuable intermediate exercise. In this variation, position yourself on your hands and feet, forming an inverted V shape with your body. This posture directs the focus predominantly onto your shoulder muscles.

The pike push-up is an excellent precursor to more advanced shoulder exercises, particularly handstand push-ups. By practicing this movement, you not only strengthen your shoulders but also enhance your stability and control in an inverted position.

Incorporate pike push-ups into your training routine to build the necessary strength and confidence for handstand push-ups. As you steadily advance through these progressions, you’ll develop a robust foundation in shoulder strength and stability, setting the stage for more challenging bodyweight exercises. Embrace the journey and enjoy the transformative impact on your upper body strength.

Ring pushup

Training push-ups in rings not only targets your muscle strength but also enhances your stability. Performing push-ups in rings requires increased engagement of your core muscles, placing a substantial demand on your abdominal strength.

The instability introduced by the rings adds a dynamic element to the exercise, requiring your body to constantly adjust and stabilize. This engagement of the core, including the abdominal muscles, becomes crucial in maintaining proper form and control throughout the movement.

Incorporating ring push-ups into your training regimen provides a unique challenge that goes beyond traditional push-ups. As you navigate the instability, you not only strengthen your chest, shoulders, and triceps but also develop a robust core. This added dimension of stability training contributes to improved overall functional strength, benefiting various aspects of your physical fitness.

One-arm pushup

Mastering the one-arm push-up requires a significant blend of strength and stability. In this variation, you place one hand behind your back and execute the push-up with a single arm. It’s crucial to emphasize training both sides to maintain balance and symmetry in your strength development.

The one-arm push-up is a formidable exercise that not only targets your chest, shoulders, and triceps but also places a substantial demand on your core and stabilizing muscles. Achieving proficiency in this challenging movement showcases not only your upper body strength but also your ability to maintain control and balance under load.

To work towards the one-arm push-up, it’s beneficial to include unilateral exercises and stability drills in your training routine. This helps address any muscle imbalances and enhances your overall stability. Remember, progressing towards advanced variations like the one-arm push-up takes time and consistency.

As you embark on the journey to master the one-arm push-up, focus on proper form, gradual progression, and training both sides equally. This not only contributes to a well-rounded physique but also ensures a strong foundation in unilateral strength and stability. Embrace the challenge, celebrate small victories along the way, and enjoy the journey of advancing your push-up skills.

Weighted pushup

In addition to the various push-up variations, you can intensify your training by adding resistance.

There are three main options for this. You can use a dipping belt and attach weight to it, incorporate resistance bands to provide additional resistance, or opt for a weighted vest.

Utilizing resistance bands not only adds resistance to your push-ups but also introduces an element of variable resistance, challenging your muscles throughout the entire range of motion. This can contribute to greater muscle activation and growth.

A weighted vest is another effective choice, evenly distributing the added weight across your upper body. This option enhances the overall difficulty of the exercise, requiring more effort from your chest, shoulders, and triceps.

Incorporating weighted variations into your push-up routine is an excellent strategy to progress and continually challenge your muscles. Start with a manageable amount of weight and gradually increase as you build strength. This approach ensures steady progression while minimizing the risk of overloading.

Whether you choose resistance bands, a weighted vest, or a dipping belt, the key is to maintain proper form and control throughout the movement. By strategically incorporating weighted push-ups into your training, you can take your strength and muscle development to new heights.

Integrating Push-Ups into Your Training Routine

There are several important considerations to keep in mind when incorporating push-ups into your training schedule. Firstly, choose a variation that is challenging but not too strenuous. Ensure that you can perform the selected push-up variation at least 3 times with proper technique.

Additionally, avoid overtraining push-ups. There’s no need to perform push-ups every day. In fact, I recommend against it to prevent overtraining.

You’ll see significant progress by incorporating 2 to 3 sessions of 4 sets of push-ups per week.

Finally, it’s crucial not to focus solely on push-ups. If you aim for a healthy and fit body, it’s essential to have balance in the exercises you train. Alongside push-ups, consider incorporating bodyweight rows. This ensures balanced training for your shoulders in both directions.

If you like to workout with a program you can download this here: free calisthenics workout plan for beginners.

Trainings Pushups at home

Certainly, you don’t need anything to train push-ups at home. However, there are materials that can enhance your training experience. For instance, if you experience wrist discomfort, using push-up bars or a set of parallettes can be beneficial. These items are affordable and provide numerous additional possibilities for incorporating various calisthenics exercises into your routine.

Push-up bars elevate your hands, reducing strain on the wrists and allowing for a more comfortable grip during push-ups. They also enable a greater range of motion, engaging muscles in a slightly different way. Parallettes, which are small parallel bars, offer even more versatility. They not only alleviate wrist pressure but also open the door to advanced exercises like L-sits, tuck planches, and handstand work.

Investing in these accessories can add diversity to your home workouts, making your push-up routine more enjoyable and effective. However, always prioritize proper form and gradually integrate these tools to ensure a safe and progressive training experience.

FAQ pushups

Below, you’ll find answers to the most frequently asked questions about push-ups.

How many pushups should I do for bigger chest muscles?

Consistency is key when aiming for muscle growth through push-ups. Begin with a number of repetitions that challenges you within the 8 to 12 range while maintaining proper form. As your strength improves, gradually increase the intensity by adding more sets or exploring advanced variations like diamond push-ups, wide-grip push-ups, or decline push-ups.

Additionally, incorporating progressive overload is essential for continuous muscle development. This involves gradually increasing the difficulty of your push-ups by adding resistance, such as a weighted vest, or experimenting with more challenging variations. Remember to prioritize quality over quantity to ensure that your muscles are effectively stimulated and to minimize the risk of injury.

Is it possible to rely solely on push-ups for a complete workout?

No, relying solely on push-ups won’t be sufficient. Push-ups are a valuable addition to your workout routine, but for a healthy and well-rounded fitness level, it’s crucial to incorporate various movements. Always maintain a balanced training schedule that includes exercises targeting different muscle groups and movement patterns.

Can I do push-ups if I have an injury?

If you have an injury, it’s essential to consult with a doctor and/or physiotherapist first. They will provide you with more personalized advice. If it hurts to do push-ups, it’s generally not advisable to continue training.

How can I make my push-ups more challenging?

You can intensify your push-ups by incorporating a more challenging variation, such as the decline push-up. Another option is to add weight or resistance using calisthenics equipment like a pull up belt, weighted vest, or resistance band. This increased difficulty enhances the demand on your muscles, promoting greater strength and endurance gains.

How often should I do push-ups for optimal results?

If you’re just starting with push-up training, it’s advisable to train 2 to 3 times per week. Opt for a variation that challenges you and ensure an adequate rest period between sets.

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