As we continue to focus on fitness to maintain our mental and physical health it is essential to develop a variety of routines for different situations. When you have a dozen core exercises that can be done anytime and anywhere you are more likely to maintain your program in spite of distractions or travel.
Last post we discussed power walking routines and this week we will focus on fitness with power pushups which are very effective and efficient exercises for core stability and strength.
We will devote our attention to a variety of pushups which are easy to do at home or while traveling. It is especially important to have simple routines that can be done even while traveling because this is when many people slack off and then have trouble getting back into their fitness routine.
During business, holiday or vacation travel most people are away from their familiar equipment and routine and lose their momentum while at the same time often eating more unhealthy foods. This typically leads to muscle atrophy and weight gain from the surplus calories consumed and lack of exercise.
Convenience & Benefits of Pushups
Many people overlook the amazing benefits of pushups because they think of them as one simple pushup routine. We are going to cover a dozen ways to turn pushups into power pushups for super fitness and health benefits. Most people do not fully appreciate and understand the power of pushups. While they may look simple they provide a full body workout with each repetition.
Pushups are perfect because you do not need any special equipment or much space. You can also get a very intense workout in a very short amount of time. They provide a workout from head to toe and are great for core strength and stability. Pushups can be done while at home, in a hotel room, outdoors or at the office. I even did pushups on the train while traveling long hours in Europe. There is no excuse for not doing power pushups as part of every weekly routine.
To add variety and enhance development of different muscle groups we will cover some distinct pushup routines. Most people are familiar with the basic pushup where your feet are together and you hands are placed directly under your shoulders and you push up and then lower your body and then repeat. For those not conditioned to full pushups you can do half push ups on your knees or lean against a wall.
[colored_box title=”Variations to the Classic Push-Up” variation=”teal”]Try these 12 power pushups variations:
- Separate your ankles and feet to shoulder width apart and then push up.
- Next move your hands closer together and push up.
- Now move your hands wider than shoulder width apart and push up.
- Next move your hands a bit further forward of the shoulders and push up.
- Now shift you body left and right and forward and back as you push up.
- You can also do a version called Hindu pushups. This is similar to the downward dog or mountain pose where you start in the push up position and then shift your buttocks high into the air. Next you dip your head and shoulders low and forward and end up with your head held high and you drop your navel to the ground. Then you reverse the motion and start over.
- Another idea is to put a block or step under one hand, perform push ups then switch hands.
- Also do push ups with hands on a wobble board, medicine ball or Swiss ball.
- Now put both your feet up on a block or step and push up.
- Then put your feet up higher on a chair and do pushups.
- Next you can advance to raising one leg up in the air as you put your foot at different elevations for advanced power pushups.
- Some people do pushups with a pack on to increase the resistance.
HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training
Have you ever tried doing pushups super slow? This is definitely tough.
Others do pushups while leaning against a wall or rail at various angles. This is great during the day when you are waiting for a bus, car, plane, shuttle or train. Yes people may look at you and just realize they are probably envious about your dedication to fitness.
Using different hand holds totally changes the mental and muscle engagement and enhances the benefits of power pushups. Using a bar, flat hands, fists, a ball or rings all change the dynamics of the muscles and process involved. Doing pushups while barefoot will engage more muscle dynamics while strengthening muscles and tendons in the feet.
One of the best power pushups programs is the High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) routine. For this routine do pushups for 30 seconds then walk in place for 90 seconds. Repeat this up to eight times for a great workout that can be intense yet only require a minimal amount of time. Eight sets in sixteen minutes is great for a full body power workout.
Another great option is using the TRX system with straps so you must engage more stabilization because the straps are not solid like the floor and straps move in all directions. Wow this will definitely take your fitness and strength to the next level and add great variety.
Importance of Pacing
At this point some important words of caution are necessary before you get overly eager and over extend yourself and risk an injury. While it is easy to get excited about all these versions of power pushups be sure you start slowly and build gradually to carefully develop all of your joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons.
Most people will notice that one side of their body is stronger than the other as well as imbalances in specific muscle groups. They often have flexibility and range of motion issues and limitations which must be addressed. Yoga is a great compliment to pushups to help create more overall balance and flexibility.
It is imperative to focus on a well rounded routine in order for you to develop the full range of motion and optimal joint agility, flexibility and stability before advancing way beyond your comfort zone. This is why it is so important to have a well rounded exercise routine instead of doing the same set of exercises over and over. It is imperative to exercise every muscle group in the body using different dynamics and range of motion for optimal endurance, flexibility, strength and tone. This is also why it is essential to access qualified live or video coaching and guidance to insure you use proper exercise form and function for maximum benefit with minimum risk of injury.
Remember your long term enjoyment, health and safety are top priorities and some of the most important considerations with any exercise and fitness program. Many people may appear to be fit and healthy even though they are actually causing excess wear and tear of their joints, ligaments and tendons and end up with complications later in life. Great nutrition is also a key component for fitness and health.
Fitness should be an enjoyable and fun experience without causing excess aches and pains. Be sure to closely monitor your progress with mental awareness and a written journal.
Now that you have a wide variety of power pushup options it is time for you to drop down and do some during your next fitness session. Many people have weak upper body strength and power pushups are perfect for developing greater upper body strength. Another benefit is being able to improve your posture and reducing tension in your neck and shoulders. As you continue to focus on fitness and exercise it is easy to see why pushups are perfect since they can be done almost any place and any time.
Mastery Action Plan
Jack LaLanne is one of the legends of fitness and exercise and was amazing at doing incredible numbers of pushups.
Watch a video of Jack LaLanne doing pushups.
Another inspiration for pushups comes from knowing our armed forces utilize pushups as one of the best conditioning exercises. Watch the movie “An Officer and a Gentleman” with Richard Gere for a preview into what boot camp is like. Watching a group of trainees doing push ups may help you visualize the camaraderie and conditioning that created fit and strong individuals.
Maybe you remember a time when you were dropping and doing pushups for physical education or military service. Now it is time for you to focus on fitness and start getting more physical with power pushups again.
The Officer and a Gentleman Movie Trailer
Our next blog post will share: Part 9: Focus on Fitness