Keep It Simple: Push-Ups

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By Tony DeSantis

For the first installment of the Keep it Simple campaign, let’s focus on push-ups. Push-ups are an amazing exercise that we all should be doing. The movement is purely functional. We all push against things on a daily basis. We push off the floor, out of bed or to get up from our desk. It is a necessary movement in our daily lives. Here are some great variations of push-ups that can be added to your exercise routine that will provide diversity to your program, work muscles differently and increase flexibility.

Lateral Step Push-ups: These are great for adding a little extra shoulder work into the normal push-up. Perform a standard push-up, then move your hands one at a time to the left while doing the same with your feet. Perform the second push up. Then move back to the right by walking with hands and feet to the right. This lateral movement activates the deltoids to move the body, building great shoulder strength. The movement forces you to maintain a high plank position which calls for increased core activation. Be prepared not only to be sore in the upper body but in the core, as well.

Check out the Lateral Step Push-up here.

Push-up High Five: This movement is one of my favorites. Perform a normal push-up, but as you come back into top position reach your arm and hand out. Balance yourself on one arm. Pretend that you are reaching out to a friend and slapping them five on the hand. Bring the arm and hand back into push-up position and perform another push-up. On the way back up, extend the other hand out to work the other side of the body. This movement works on balance and stabilization in the core and upper body. It activates the trapezius, rear deltoids and obliques on the reach forward. This adds great upper body strength building to any routine. Also, try it with a partner to make your session more fun!

Check out the Push-up High Five here.

Decline Push-up: The decline focuses on working the upper chest. Put your legs on a chair, couch, step or whatever you have that elevates your leg positioning. Hands stay in the normal push-up position on the ground. Perform a normal push, keeping your hands under your shoulders. You will feel majority of the concentric work being done in the area below the collarbone and in the shoulders. This movement is great because it doesn’t change anything about the push itself. Yet, the small change in leg placement provides for a whole new challenge within the push.

Check out the Decline Push-up here.

Close hand Push-up: This variation of the push-up is challenging. It isolates the back of the arms, especially the forearms and triceps. In a normal push-up, the hands are under the shoulder. For close hand push-ups, your hands should be aligned with the chest. When you come down, your arms should form into a 90 degree angle. This push-up is also referred to as a triceps push-up due to the fact it destroys your triceps! It is a great addition to an arm session or upper body routine. Start with low repetitions, like 5 to 6 of these, and perform 5 or 6 sets. As time goes by, work your way up to higher repetition.

Check out the Close hand Push-up here:

The standard push-up is so simple, yet so important to our daily routines. It is no wonder why it has been an integral part of the exercise world for so long. There are many more variations of push-ups, so don’t be afraid to hit me up to find them out. Keep a look out for the next installment of the Keep it Simple campaign. Until then, don’t overthink your routines. Sometimes the simplest route is the best one taken.

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