By Kimberly Caines
Exercise of the Week: Pushups
For all my BFFs looking for an effective, easy-to-learn exercise - This is for you!
The pushup is often referred to as the perfect exercise because it’s a compound exercise (works multiple muscles at the same time) and you can easily adjust it to meet your fitness level. It’s also cheap, because all you use is your body weight and gravity – no fancy equipment needed! I always include pushups in my workouts, and although I can easily do a set of full pushups, it wasn’t always this way. When I first set my mind to doing pushups, I couldn’t even do one. My upper body was (and still is) the weakest part of my body and I know many females can relate to this. I really had to build my upper body strength and started by doing incline and knee pushups.
Pushups mainly work your chest and shoulders, but also engage your core, upper back and triceps. Truly, this exercise really engages all the muscles in your body, because you’re required to move your body as a whole in a tight plank-like position. Pushups tone and strengthen your muscles and improve your posture, making you look even better than you did before! I have a love-hate relationship with pushups… I hate doing them, but I love the results, because they really sculpt my upper body and make me feel strong. To get the most out of pushups, whether you do them on your knees or at an incline, always make sure your form is on point!
Tips to stick to and mistake to avoid when doing pushups:
Newbies… start with pushups on your knees. Knee pushups cut the lifting load in half and are therefore easier. When you’re ready for the next challenge, move on to incline pushups where you place your hands on an elevated surface and stretch out your legs. As you get stronger, try a full pushup on the floor. (I demonstrate all three varieties in the video on this page) Kim Tip: If knee pushups are too difficult, keep it simple and do standing pushups against a wall. Lean into the wall and push yourself away from it. (Mimic the motion of a full pushup while standing upright)
Have a spotter watch you while doing pushups. A personal trainer, for instance, can correct mistakes you make when doing pushups. If you don’t have a spotter, do pushups in front of a mirror so you can glance over from time to time and correct yourself.
Do pushups on your knuckles to reduce tension in your wrists. If your wrists bother you during pushups, ball up your fists and do the pushups on your knuckles. Make sure to use a padded mat or carpet to prevent discomfort.
Always exhale during the hardest part of the exercise. Inhale on your way down, exhale as you push yourself up. (Sounds easy, but proper breathing makes a world of difference!)
Lower yourself to the ground and when you’re about 2 to 3 inches above the floor, push yourself back up. No need for your chest to touch the floor.
Lead the exercise with your chest. Avoid dropping your hips to the floor, rounding your back and pushing your tush in the air. Keep your tummy tucked in tight. Really use your arms to push your body up. Your body should be tight and straight like a plank from your head down to your heels.
Remember... Doing 10 pushups is great, but if your form sucks, your results will too. It’s better to do 3 perfect pushups than 10 sloppy pushups! As with any exercise, always remember Quality over Quantity -- never sacrifice good form for more repetitions.
In this video I demonstrate knee, incline and full pushups. Remember to always go at your own pace.
Hey BFF, have you tried doing pushups? Are they already part of your routine? Let me know how you’re doing in the comments below. xo
Disclaimer: All fitness posts on www.bffwithkimberlycaines.com are monitored by my Certified Personal Trainer.