WTOP Fitness Contributor
WASHINGTON — Pushups are one of the easiest exercises to perform anywhere. You don’t need a gym and you don’t need any special equipment.
In addition to strengthening the upper body and improving core strength, pushups work the chest, shoulders, triceps, abdominals, upper back, erectors, legs and glutes.
So how do you perform a pushup that will build and tone all of these muscles? Pay attention to a few specific things, and you’ll be perfecting your technique in no time.
Now that you’ve got the form, let’s try the pushup.
Begin with your arms straight, your abs engaged and your glutes squeezed. Then, slowly lower your body. Bend your arms with your elbows pointed slightly out and draw the shoulder blades back and down.
Descend until your chest touches the floor. The key is to not “let go” of your form as your chest touches. As you’re doing the pushup, inhale on the descent and exhale as you pushup to a full straight-arm extension. Remember to rest after a set, not after each repetition.
Once you’ve perfected this, your strength will improve, and you can move to the next progression or add sets and repetitions. Record the number of pushups you can do on the first day. When you can perform one set of 20 repetitions and you feel ready for more, move to the next progression. Don’t forget to stretch your chest after each set.
Here are some progression options (using the same form/technique) to build your way up to a traditional floor pushup:
As you become stronger, here are some ways to make pushups more challenging:
As always, it’s important to make sure you are eating well and fitting in cardiovascular or aerobic exercise, along with your pushups, in order to live the Reed-iculoulsy fit life!
Editor’s Note: Lisa Reed, MS, CSCS, is a USA Fitness Champion, IFBB Pro, personal trainer, educator, motivator and owner of Lisa Reed Fitness, LLC, where she leads a team of in-home personal trainers in the Washington, D.C. area. Lisa and her team design online fitness and nutrition programs for clients around the world. She has trained hundreds of elite and professional athletes, including Monica Seles. She was the first female strength coach at the United States Naval Academy, and trained top athletes as a strength coach at the University of Florida. For more information on Lisa, visit her Facebook page, Twitter account, YouTube channel and Instagram account.