The Benefits + Styles Of Push-Ups
In terms of workouts and fitness, you’d be hard pressed to find something more recognizable than the push-up. You can practically do it anywhere at any time, and, for the most part, is a relatively simple, but largely effective chest exercise. What you may not know, however, is that there are many different kinds of push-ups -- each with a different fitness benefit. So, kick back, relax, and read CoachUp's guide to a few of the most popular types of push-ups before getting out there and doing them yourself!
This is the standard push-up that you're probably most familiar with. In order to do it correctly, you first need to make sure you have proper form. Space your hands out at a distance slightly wider than the width of your shoulders. You can either face your hands in towards your body at an angle, keep them facing forward, or curl your fists into balls and rest on your knuckles. Doing push-ups from your knuckles may help prevent wrist injury if you have weak wrists. Many fitness experts believe the most effective push-up occurs when your chest touches the ground before rising, but if you’re not that flexible, stop when your arms are at a 90 degree angle.
The diamond push-up is done by forming your hands in a diamond or triangle shape below your chest. This push-up is beneficial because it works the tricep muscles more than the chest. CoachUp has talked at length before about the importance of changing up your workouts and this falls under that category of variety. You don’t want to just work on the same muscles over and over, so share the love! At first, these variations might be uncomfortable for beginners, but keep working at it so you can reap the benefits.
The elevated push-up can be done two ways -- you can either elevate your feet by placing them on an exercise ball or bench, or elevate your upper body by placing your hands on a step or similar object. Basically, elevate one side of your body in some way, shape, or form. Of course, these subtle differences enact some pretty big changes in the parts of your body you’re working out. With your feet up, the lower body elevated push-up will be harder on your upper body, creating more stress in the chest, shoulders, and triceps. Conversely, the upper body elevated push-up is helpful for beginners or anyone recovering from injury because it creates less stress on the upper body muscles.
Clap push-ups are accomplished by pushing hard off the ground, letting go and clapping your hands together before you hit the ground. Think of it like jumping with your hands! Although they might seem gimmicky at first, the clap push-up is a very useful plyometric workout. Clap push-ups help build explosive power in the chest muscles, which every athlete uses whether they realize it or not. However, be careful as they require a high base level of chest strength in order to perform them -- but keep working at it!
(Related: Read about your fast and slow twitch muscles here.)
Ultimately, push-ups are a versatile and beneficial exercise in any context. In order to improve your body overall, try to implement them in your total body workout, not just as a stand-alone exercise. Again, the best athletes and overall healthiest humans are the ones that use workouts that improve their entire body in symphony instead of just one or two muscles.
If you’re interested in improving your overall fitness and ability, consider booking one of CoachUp’s private trainers to help you out. Additionally, CoachUp has a wealth of fitness articles and coaching resources at your disposal. If you're looking to take your personal fitness to another level, check them out and book today! What are you waiting for?