Push-Ups, My Secret Weapon

When I think of pushups I think of the military. I picture a bunch of  boot camp newbies face down on the ground pumping out as many of those bad boys as they can. So if push ups are good enough for the military why aren’t they good enough for you and I? THEY ARE!

Some people whine about not having gym equipment, but push ups are one of the best exercises of all time – and they require NO equipment. The killer exercises strengthens the arms, chest and core, while also working the cardiovascular system. I mean think about it. Push ups can leave you breathing like you just sprinted a quarter mile if you’re doing them right.

So why is this delicious exercise not in more people’s exercise program? Some people are just lazy. Push ups takes a lot more out of you than sitting on a chest press machine. However, I think most people just forget they’re even an option.

I believe push ups are essential in anyone’s routine. I love the way they work you entire upper body and I absolutely LOVE how it tightens the core. The day after I do pushups, my entire mid section is tight and sore – and you can’t get that on a chest machine. Machines stabilize your core for you, isolating only one body part. Why not exercise other muscles at the same time? Seems like a no-brainer to me! Since I’ve been doing push-ups regularly, I feel SO much stronger and more fit! Here is how I use push ups in my own routine.

Tuesday’s Chest & Tricep Day
NOTE: I use push-ups all the time now as a warm up when I do upper body)
1 Burn Out Set – Pushups (as many as you can for a warm up)
3 Sets of 15 – Decline pushups (feet up on a bench)
3 Sets of 12 –  Extreme decline (feet higher, for more upper chest & shoulders)
2 Sets of 12 – Bosu Ball Push Up 
3 Sets of 10-12 –  Dumbbell press (25lbs)
3 Sets of 12 – Dumbbell flies (15-20lbs)
3 Sets of 15 – Dips
3 Sets of 15 – Tricep Press (50-60lbs)
3 Sets of 15 – Straight Arm Tricep Pull Down (40lbs)

BEGINNERS: Many people say they can’t do push-ups when they can. Before you say “I can’t” try to do one (even if they are shallow). Do as many as you can before you go to your knees. If you can’t do any standard military push-ups, then start training your knees (but always try the regular first every time). Your body should be in a straight line from your knees to your head. (NO BUTT IN THE AIR) To do them correctly, start laying flat on the ground, roll your feet back to your butt, then push up with your hands. You’ll notice your weight will not be on your knee caps, but just above them. 🙂 

ADVANCED TRAINING: Here is Al Kavadlo, this guy is the guy in the 1st pic. He has some awesome ways to train for a one-arm pushup. PS: He totally took me off guard in his video – he cracked me up with his fun spirit. I expected a mean bad-a** kinda guy. But his workout is totally bad-a**). 

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About Bonnie Pfiester

Fitness Columnist and Lifestyle Coach, Resident Trainer for Designer Whey, Fitness Advisor for FitStudio, powered by Sears, FitFluential Ambassador and Owner of Max Fitness Club, home of BCx Boot Camp in Vero Beach, Florida.

Posted on January 5, 2012, in Exercise & Training, PFIT TIPS, Uncategorized, Workout and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. I’m loving push ups and planks right now. I travel frequently and I make sure I do AT LEAST those 2 since I CAN do them ANYWHERE! 🙂

  2. Old skool fitness still lives, you are so right! Who needs a gym if you can do push ups, jumping jacks and sprints.

    Good post-

  3. I love push ups! And plank as well for core strength

  4. StoriesAndSweetPotatoes

    I just got to the point where I can do regular push ups no problems. It totally surprised me. I did 10 and was like whoa I can do these now! And then I did 10 more 🙂 I’ll have to work up to these exciting modification. I think I can try decline.

  5. Dang! i didn’t think there would be this many different types of push ups, I’ve been doing machine presses and been trying to rid of my love handles with little results. I’ll give these a try 🙂

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