The Benefits of Incorporating Push-ups to Your Routine
Having a well-balanced workout routine, one that will benefit you the most, isn’t always the easiest to achieve and maintain. The time alone it could involve can be overwhelming, especially if you have a busy lifestyle with work, kids, and social activities constantly pulling on you for attention. It can also be quite costly, if you join a gym or invest in multiple pieces …or just one expensive piece of equipment. Then, there’s the space you need to put it all.
However, there are many exercises you can do at home that won’t require much time or space…or a dime. Exercises such as lunges, squats, pull ups, and push-ups do not require much time or space, and won’t cost you anything to incorporate into your routine.
For this particular article though, we are going to focus on push-ups. And, there are far more benefits to saving time and money, so read on to learn more…
Conditioning and Strengthening the Upper Body
The muscles utilized in push-ups are plenty. However, the group that will be targeted the most are those found in the chest, arms, and shoulders. These are called the pectoralis major, triceps, and deltoids.
You will find as you start doing push-ups that these are the muscles used the most while you perform them. And, you should notice considerable strength and tone improvement after a while when doing them on a regular basis. This can also increase skill and performance in other activities that require upper body strength, such as throwing a ball in a sporting event.
Building Strength in Your Core
With push-ups, as long as you use proper technique, your core will also see improvement in time. The spine should stay aligned in a straight position, so you are not hyperextending the back or hip muscles.
Your core, which includes the abdomen (such as the transversus abdominis and rectus abdominus) and lower back muscles, is responsible for keeping your torso aligned properly. So, if it’s doing its job correctly, it will strengthen as it performs.
Improving Bone Mass
The concern of bone mass is often neglected by many people, until they need it. Bone mass is often depleted as we age, through natural process. In fact, it starts to already decrease after your 30’s. Medical conditions can wreak havoc in your later years, such as osteoporosis, if people who are prone to excessive bone loss do nothing. This could lead to bones fracturing easier or the spine losing its strength to hold you up, like it once did.
By adding weight bearing exercises, it will help to strengthen your bones. In particular, push-ups will help to strengthen the arms, shoulders, and wrists. The more you can do to add density to your bones, the less fragile they will become.
Increasing Your Metabolic Rate
Push-ups require the utilization of multiple muscles all at once while being performed, including all the muscles in the legs. Any time your muscles are put to this much work, the heart will be pumping more blood to them, which will in turn increase your breathing. This all contributes to increasing your metabolic rate…a bonus for anyone looking to lose weight.
No Expense Involved
As mentioned earlier, there is no monetary cost to performing push-ups. You can do them just about anywhere, or any time, because it requires only a floor. There isn’t any fancy or expensive equipment necessary…or a gym membership. So, there is also no excuse!
The Proper Technique
Of course, as with any exercise, proper technique is important. A physical therapist or personal trainer can help you with more specific needs you may have, but here are the basic steps…
1. Start by kneeling, bending forward to place your palms on the floor, about shoulder width (or slightly wider) apart…and aligned with your shoulders, not in front or back of them. Make sure you don’t lock your elbows.
2. Walk your legs straight behind you, your feet slightly closer in than your shoulders, until your body is in a straight line. Your back should not be curved, or shoulders drooping.
3. Inhale as your body lowers to the floor. Your chest should come close to the floor, while not allowing it to touch, and elbows come to a 90° angle. Keep your back and head aligned in a straight line.
4. Exhale while you push yourself back up, all while keeping your body straight. Again, do not lock the elbows.
5. If you were able to maintain a straight form, repeat. If you are working with a physical therapist or trainer, they will recommend the number of repetitions you should try.
If you are not working with a professional, use common sense…and a mirror if possible. The mirror will help you to see if you are using proper form. Without knowing, you could risk injury.