"Do me 50 pushups"
Push up is the standard threat of any film set in the military, or in the beer & cheerleaders world of American colleges.
Through the push up phase in fact we all go, sooner or later (I'm talking mainly to you, boy). When you fall in love with cast iron, and you have i rest days. When you get it into your head that a bedside push-up and abdominal regimen in the morning is enough to be in shape. When you decide you "want chest", but you don't want to hit the nearest flat bench.
When you find those 1000 push up challenges per month, per day, per hour (yes, there is that too).
Push up: the benefits
In reality the push up - the flexion, for us generic Italians, or the push-up if we want to be correct - is an excellent bodyweight exercise for the upper bodydifficult to overcome.
I would say: essential.
The technique is simple enough, the risks of getting hurt are reduced (there are, however), the chest, shoulders and triceps work very well, and by acting on the variants it is possible to target the training to the individual muscle groups. It also puts tension on the whole body.
And then it has the great advantage of real bodyweight exercise: you can do it everywhere, everytime.
(not like the dips, which then you have to arrange with the two chairs and end up in the video fail compilations).
However, I do not dwell too much on the benefits. Let's go technical.
A warning: developing a good technique in push-ups is essential to not subject the joints that work during the exercise to more than necessary: shoulder, elbow, wrist.
The perfect push up
Start doing an excellent plank. You will have to keep the core contracted throughout the movement: won't you want to stuff yourself in the descending phase? The arms, meanwhile, are extended, as are the legs. The hands are under the shoulders, slightly wider. The hands are pointed roughly in front of you.
Caution: the elbows are not widened, but they are approximately 45 ° from the axis of the body. This way you will avoid getting hurt.
Squeeze your shoulder blades. Imagine you are crushing a nut on your way down. Release your elbows and go down until you touch the floor, but without interrupting the tension of the body. Stay in the low position for a second, and go up.
This was a good push up.
5 variants of the push up
But the beauty comes with the variants. Do you know why?
- they chase away boredom
- allow you to work in detail (almost) on the single muscle
- they allow you to compose calisthenics workouts for the upper body that are always different
I write to you the five variations that I love (more or less classic)
Diamond push ups
Like the classic push up, only the hands touch: index and thumbs describe a diamond.
The focus on the triceps is maximum.
High push up
Feet on a raised surface (it can be a box, a bench ...), otherwise “nothing new under the sun”. The emphasis is shifted to the anterior deltoids.
Easy to describe, less to perform. The descent is slower and more controlled (think as if you had to load a spring), while the climb is explosive: you have to aim to lift your hands off the ground at the end of the movement, to "land" gently and start the next rep without pausing.
Archer push ups
The starting position involves the arms very wide (45 °), and the fingers of the hands pointing outwards. Push ups are done with one arm - the other simply pivots on the shoulder. Repeat on the other side, and this is one rep (although you can do all the reps on one side, and then switch).
Push up + 90 °
Joke, this isn't one of my favorites. But it's a nice challenge.
The starting position is the standard one. Get down in push up "pushing forward" towards the end of the movement, e when you are roughly parallel to the ground, stiffen your whole body and lift your feet for a short hike on the planche.
It is worth a try, and then spend the evening watching videos of Calisthenics in American parks on YT.
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