When people ask me what my favorite exercises are push-ups are one of the top of the list. Every time I work out with a client, on my own, many and I repeat MANY push-ups are done. Push ups are one of the first exercises we learn, and one of the most forgotten exercises. We tend to hang out at the gym waiting for equipment while we could simply drop and do 20. Push-ups are great for upper body conditioning, shoulder stability, and you can add some abdominal development to the mix.
The following are my favorites with some images below. Integrate some of these into your workout today!
1. Traditional Push Up - Balance your weight on your toes and palms, with your hands a comfortable distance apart, probably just beyond shoulder-width. Your body should form a straight line from your ankles to your head. Squeeze your ass and brace your abdominals, and keep them that way for the duration of the exercise. Slowly lower yourself to the floor, pause, and push yourself back up. Do as many as you can, rest and repeat a few times.
2. Rotational Push Up - The same as the traditional but as you come up rotate your body so one arm lifts. Repeat on both sides.
3. Barbell Push Up - I'll often do a set of barbell bicep curls then drop the bar and complete push-ups on it. Hold the barbell steady on the floor and lower your chest to the bar and push up.
4. Plyometric Push Up - Develop upper body power by setting up for a traditional push up. Press hard enough to launch yourself off the floor a few inches, land into your push-up and immediately press back up. Plyometric push ups are fun and challenging.
5. Elevated leg Push Up - Place your legs on a bench with your hands on the floor in a traditional push-up position. Lower yourself and complete the push-up. I love this because it creates more focus on the upper body.