Slow Down… and Push Up

27 Oct

Oh, the push up. Love it or hate it, this exercise is pure gold. It strengthens many muscles at once, is extremely efficient when time is limited, can be easily modified for various injuries or strength levels and requires no equipment. Hooray!

In order to create the magical win-win for your body, it is muy importante to slow down, engage the abdominals and focus on bending the elbows to lower the body as opposed to collapsing into the shoulder blades. Shall we have a run at it?

1. Place your hands on the floor underneath your shoulders (or place hands on the wall or railing for a modified version). Shift weight back into your heels, draw your belly button towards your spine, tuck your tailbone and keep your shoulder blades wide and head in neutral (see Figure 1). This is your starting position.

Figure 4

Figure 1: Start position

2. Inhale and slowly lower (2 counts) your entire body towards the ground as one unit by bending the elbows (the elbows will point back at a 45 degree angle away from your torso). Keep the shoulders wide and head neutral. Stop once your chest is about a fist distance away from the ground (see Figure 2).

Figure 5

Figure 2: Lowering position

3. Exhale and slowly push your body up as one unit to the start position.

4. Perform 10 reps or as many as you can do with proper form.

Using a secure wall, railing or table works well to modify the exercise (see Figure 3). If you would like to increase difficulty, you may slow the tempo down even more, increase reps to 20 or place your feet on an elevated surface.

Figure 2: Modified Push Up

Figure 3: Modified push up on secure desk

Regardless of what you do, be certain you have proper form and stop the exercise if you feel any pain. It is always ideal to have the expertise of a certified personal trainer to ensure proper form and programming are achieved for your unique needs and goals. And remember, before you start any exercise program, please get the A-OK from your physician.

 

For your customized exercise and nutrition program, please contact me at 402-819-8970 or stephsbell@yahoo.com.

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