A push up workout is a great way to build your chest, shoulder and triceps strength with no weights or fancy equipment – how do you do it?
Push ups are a tried and tested way to build the pushing muscles of your upper body – your pectorals, deltoids and triceps.
Given that you need to hold a straight line from head to toe, tensing your abs, hips and lower back it also helps to build your core strength.
Now, most people know how to do a push up – lay face down on the floor, keep your hands shoulder width apart and your back straight. Lower yourself slowly until your nose nearly touches the floor, pause and push upwards in a controlled fashion.
Now, if you can’t do a regular push, try a half push up resting on your knees rather than your toes. Practice these for a few weeks and you’ll be ready for regular push ups.
Push Up Workout
Now I don’t do a push up workout on its own, I tend to integrate it into a full bodyweight workout.
Here are a few example push up workouts that you can try to build chest, shoulder and triceps strength as part of a weight loss or fitness program.
Push Up Workout Ideas…
#1. Sets to Failure – Try doing as many push ups in good form as you can – 5, 10, 20, whatever. Rest when you’re done for a minimum of 60 seconds then repeat for a second set, again going to failure.
Repeat for a third set. The reps will become harder with each set as you fatigue and overload your working muscles, so don’t be concerned if you can only get a few push ups out in the last set.
Each workout you’ll find that the number of reps you can do in each set will increase.
To make the workout harder try decreasing the rest between sets every week or add a fourth set. Raising your feet will also make the push ups harder, so rest them on a bench, chair, sofa or whatever is to hand.
#2. Fixed Rep Sets – An alternative to training to failure in each set is to aim for a specific number of reps.
Say you can do 20 reps. Try doing three sets of 12 reps. The first set will be quite easy. Rest for a minute and repeat. You’ll find getting out 12 reps in the last set tough.
After a couple of workouts try doing 13 reps for three sets. Add a rep every couple of workouts and in a matter of months you’ll find you’ll be doing three sets of 20, 30, 40 or more reps.
#3. Supersets – Instead of doing push ups by themselves, try supersetting them with an exercise for your pulling muscles – your back and biceps.
Try doing a set of push ups immediately followed by a set of pull ups. Rest for a minute and then repeat the superset.
You’ll increase the intensity and calorie expenditure of your workout as you’ll be doing twice as much work in the same amount of time and you’ll save time on your workouts as you’ll be doing two body parts in one superset.
Always leave at least a day between push up workouts, so try doing them on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
If you’re doing push ups as part of a whole body bodyweight workout, then 1-2 times a week should suffice.
Vary your push up workout by changing your hand position. Shoulder width or wider targets the whole chest, shoulders and triceps.
The closer together your hands get, the harder the push up becomes and the more the emphasis is shifted to your inner chest and triceps.
So, there are a few ideas for a great push up workout – give them a try and you’ll be well on your way to a toned, hard chest, shoulders and triceps without the need for any weights, fancy equipment or an expensive gym membership!