Home Men's Health How to do pushups for the biggest gains

How to do pushups for the biggest gains

by Mark Griffin

When it comes to training with your body weight, it is almost impossible not to think about pushups. It is a very efficient bodyweight exercise. It works your deltoids and triceps in addition to working your chest. Also, it boosts the strength of your whole core. And to some extent, it works the quads, glutes, and the small stabilizing muscles in the upper back. One great thing about the pushup is that you do not need any equipment and can train anywhere you want. These are the steps to perform the pushups;


  • Start in a plank position but keep your arms extended and your hands right under your shoulders.
  • Ensure your whole body is in a straight line as your buttocks, back, and head should all align with each other.
  • Place your weight on your toes by extending your legs
  • Keep your glutes and core engaged.
  • Then, pull your shoulder blades down and back
  • Use a slow and controlled motion to lower yourself until your elbows form 90 degrees.
  • Ensure that your elbows are tucked in close to your body.


Pushups variations


one hand push up

These are the different variations of the pushups you can try out for bigger gains;


Clap pushup


This is pushups with a clap. When you get to the top of the move, take your hands off the ground and clap, and then land with soft elbows. To perform this variation properly, a lot of core control is required. You can try using an incline machine or start on your knees to get the hang of the movement.


Stagger Plyo pushup


After every pushup, switch the positions of your hand back and forth. You can try switching your hands without the jump if the exercise is too challenging or explosive.


Archer pushup


While performing this variation, you have to keep your hands wider than the distance of your shoulder width. Then you start pushing, ensuring your body goes left and right. You should also keep one straight, as the other hand should have a slight bend.


Clap behind pushup


Your shoulder flexibility and mobility are recruited with this variation. You must warm your shoulders before you perform this move. You can try plank to a downward dog as a great warm-up exercise.


Benefits of pushups


Pushups as a weight-bearing exercise have a lot of benefits; these are the benefits that are associated with incorporating pushups into your exercise routine;


Boost testosterone and reduce osteoporosis development


As people age, they typically experience a decrease in the concentration of certain hormones. As a man, the most prominent loss is the fall of testosterone levels. A lot of studies have shown that the movements you make when performing the traditional pushup boost the production of testosterone, which is vital for your body to be in optimal shape. Also, the standard pushup, as a weight-bearing exercise, supports denser and stronger bones. The rise in the density of your ones would prevent debilitating skeletal system disorders like osteoporosis.


No cost for a full-body workout


While it could be your wish to train in a world-class gym, you might not have a budget that allows you to do that. Fortunately, you don’t need to have any equipment or an expensive gym membership to get the full-body workout you desire. You will efficiently fatigue minor and major muscle groups in your body when you engage in pushup exercises. This would provide you with similar benefits as when you perform a traditional full-body workout at the gym on cumbersome and expensive equipment.


Prevent lower back injuries


Lower back injuries can be so debilitating that it is advisable not to have one. Your lower back is responsible for providing support to your body when you are performing your basic movements. So, if you sustain an injury on your lower back, you would find it extremely painful and challenging to carry out any task. Your entire torso is recruited when performing pushups to stabilize its movements. This, in turn, would strengthen your lower back. When your lower back is strengthened, muscles that help reduce lower back pressure are cultivated, which in turn would help prevent and treat lower back injuries.


Improve your posture


Bad posture is a factor that can mess with your comfort and health as you get older, whether it is caused by sitting at a computer all the time or because you refused to take recommendations from people. Weak core muscles are the primary culprit for lack of good posture. Your whole core needs enough strength to supports its vertical position if you are going to be able to hold your shoulders and back properly. While you are performing pushups, you fine-tune and strengthen the muscles that are responsible for supporting posture. Also, your body leans toward proper posture naturally if you perform pushups regularly. This is regarded as a very influential passive benefit of the pushup.


Protect your shoulders from injury


The rotator cuff injury is also a common and debilitating injury that occurs more in older people. Many factors determine the severity of the injury, but you have to make it a priority to protect this delicate area in your body. When it comes to safeguarding the shoulder joints from possible injury, one of the ways that have been proven to effective involves performing the standard pushup. Since the stabilizing muscles that are around the rotator cuff joint are recruited when performing pushups, this part of your body is conditioned and strengthened for dynamic movements.


Increase whole body muscle definition


A wide range of primary and stabilizing muscles are recruited through the time you are performing the pushups. When a more significant muscle mass is used when performing strength training exercises, there would be more production and release of HGH, which is known as the human growth hormone. As a young man, your body pumps out significant concentrations of this hormone, which supports the natural growth of your whole body. But, as you get older, the release of HGH reduces naturally, which is why it is difficult for older people to build muscle. When a lot of muscles are recruited, you trigger the production of HGH, which would lead to muscle hypertrophy. The pushup is an exercise that has to be incorporated in your strength training program to maximize its benefits.


Increase functional strength through full-body activation.


While lowering your body to the ground and start experiencing the burn in your muscles, you tend to take your mind off the number of muscles that are recruited to perform the move. But, this is a very important benefit of pushups. While performing the pushup, almost all the major muscles in your body are recruited to carry out the movement. The muscle groups that are activated to stabilize the movement and support your body include your anterior deltoids, triceps, core muscles, biceps, and lower body muscle groups. The pushup is a compound exercise as it recruits multiple muscle groups, and as such, you will train the crucial muscles in your body.


Mistakes when performing pushups


These are the mistakes you should avoid when performing pushups if you want to avoid injuries as well as reap maximum benefits.


Flared elbows


A very prevalent injury that occurs when performing pushups is pinching or pain in the front of your shoulders. This occurs because your elbows are flared too wide, or your hands are placed too far apart. This is a shape that places a lot of pressure on your shoulders and restricts the contribution of your triceps and chest to the movement. You can fix this by placing your hands on the floor, just under your shoulders. Ensure your elbows are kept at a 45-degree angle from your body as you aim to form an arrow shape.


Partial reps


Your aim here is to build strength all through the whole range of motion for the particular movement, just as it is with any other exercise. If your lowering stops halfway to the floor, you will only be able to build your strength with that restricted range of motion. If you find it challenging to lower to the floor while keeping your legs straight, you can try elevating your hands or starting with bent-knee pushups.


Sagging hips


Your body should remain in a straight line while going up and down as the pushups is basically a moving plank. You need to engage your core all through the movement if you are going to pull it off properly. When you lack the core strength to keep that plank position, you tend to sag your hips toward the floor to compensate. When you sag your hips, you would be able to complete the move easily, but you will place additional pressure on your lower back. To fix this, while performing pushups focus on what your hips are doing. Ensure that your hips align with your shoulders, and your tailbone is tucked.

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