The benefits of pushups don’t just stop at improving upper body strength. Learn more about the benefits of this easy exercise and what makes them so great. To start, push ups are a bodyweight exercise, so you don’t need any equipment to do them! In fact, sometimes resistance training and simple bodyweight exercises can be the most effective workouts. Push ups are a great compound bodyweight exercise that uses a lot of muscles and joints to complete and allows you to build a ton of strength. Because they are a compound workout, push ups also get your blood flowing, which can make you more energized throughout your workout (if you choose to do them at the beginning).
Like any exercise, push ups can also improve your mood because they release endorphins and make you feel good. On that note, let’s take a look at all the benefits of push ups.
Benefits of Push Ups:
- Build Strength
- Prevent Injuries
- Promote Balance
- Easy To Modify For A Challenge
Benefit #1 Build Strength
Push ups can help you build strength of muscles that are often undertrained. They not only strengthen your upper body, but they also strengthen your thighs, obliques and core muscles, which will improve your posture. By building upper body strength you will also be improving your performance on other exercises and even simple everyday tasks.
Benefit #2 Prevent Injuries and Reduce Pain
Doing push ups requires you to move and work the muscles in your shoulders. This gives those joints and muscles the flexibility and strength that help avoid unwanted shoulder and neck pain. Push ups also strengthen your abs, obliques and lower back muscles, which all help give support to your spine. In turn, this promotes stability and helps prevent future injuries.
Push ups are especially great if you’re doing a lot of lifting at work because they allow you to build a lot of strength and help reduce and sometimes even prevent lower back pain.
Benefit #3 Burn Calories
While cardio is often looked at as a big calorie burner, strength training actually takes the cake. Because a lot of muscles are involved in a push-up, it allows you burn more calories than a lot of other exercises that only involve one or two muscle groups. The more energy (in the form of calories) that is required to do an exercise, the more you’ll burn.
For example, you’ll burn more calories doing a push up than you would doing a crunch since you’re sing more energy and more muscles in a push up. On the other hand, burpees allow you to burn more calories than push ups because they are more intense and work more muscles.
Benefit #4 Easy To Modify For A Challenge
If you’re looking for more of a challenge, push ups are very easy to modify which is also a great benefit. You can elevate your feet, do clapping push ups, put a weight plate across your back, and more to make push ups a more challenging exercise.
Pro Tip: Like any workout, make sure you can do at least 10 traditional push-ups with perfect technique before you progress to more advanced versions.
Having your feet elevated while doing a pushup will work your upper chest and core more. They are perfect to begin your workout, or to finish it off for a good burn. Simply lie on your stomach on the floor with your hands on the ground, extend your arms to hold the weight of your torso, put your feet up on an elevated surface such as a flat bench (to where your back can still reflect a straight line), and lower yourself until your chest almost touches the floor as you inhale.
Clapping Push Ups
Clapping push ups are great for building strength in your chest, shoulders, and triceps. They are also great for core stability. Start a clapping push up by getting in a standard pushup position and lower your chest until it’s just above the floor. Next, push yourself up, let your hands leave the floor, clap in the air, and return to the pushup position. This builds more strength and endurance.
Diamond Push Ups
Diamond push ups are great for working your triceps. Start in a pushup position, but instead of placing your hands down, make a diamond connecting your pointer fingers and thumbs. As you lower your body, make sure to keep your arms and elbows tight at your side.
Push Ups With A Weighted Plate
Weighted plates increase the intensity of your workout, and like other variations of the push up, they are great for chest, triceps, shoulders, and core development. Proper placement of the weighted plate is important so you don’t risk injury. For this variation, I recommend to make sure you can do 30 perfect reps of the body-weight version before you start.
Begin with a weight plate that equals about 10 percent of your body weight. As you progress in this variation, you can continue to add weight in increments of 5 to 10 percent.
Pro Tip: When doing a push up, make sure you keep your elbows tucked close to your sides at about 45 degree angle to prevent any injuries. You can also use a push up bar to take some strain off your wrists.
Make sure to add push ups to your next workout! If you need a little more of a challenge, try out the many variations of this simple, yet effective exercise! The benefits of push ups are plentiful.