The other day, Bree and I got into a discussion about what makes a whole body workout. We were talking about the types of exercises we do to make sure we target all our large muscle groups. It involved talking about everything from various specific moves to the types of gym equipment we like best.
At one point, I said that I often consider pushups to be a fantastic whole body workout. Naturally, she looked at me like I’d grown an alien head (she makes the same expression when I say I keep my place pretty neat).
Regardless of how neat you might think I keep my home, I stick by my claim. Push-ups really can give you a whole body workout. You just have to do them right.
Tips to Get a Whole Body Workout Out of Push-Ups
• Start on the floor – If you really want to make sure you’re keeping the right form, don’t start in a plank position. Instead, lie down on your belly with your hands under your shoulders. Tighten your abs, lock your legs and push. This is easily a whole body workout as you’re using your arms, shoulders, core and legs simultaneously. If that’s too challenging, don’t arch your back and lose your form. It’s better to do the pushups from your knees. Keep that back straight.
• Narrower and wider push-ups – Next, switch up your style by placing your hands slightly more than shoulder-width apart, or slightly less. This slight difference completely changes the way you’re accessing your muscles. Doing more than one type of pushup will round out your whole body workout nicely.
• Keep your tail tucked – This means that if you ever start lifting your backside in the air, it’s time to correct, change or stop. Correct your form if you can. Change the type of pushup if that lets you improve your form. Stop if the reason you’re losing your form is you’ve done too many.
• Keep your hips in line – Just as important as not sticking your butt in the air is avoiding bowing your back. Don’t let your hips sag toward the floor. This risks lower back pain, injury and lower results. Instead, squeeze your abs and imagine drawing your navel right into your spine.
• Keep your head aligned – The goal to this whole body workout is a neutral spine. Your head is a part of that. Don’t drop your head forward. You’re not doing downward-facing dog in yoga. Keep your neck aligned with the rest of your body.
Do these things and you’re sure to get that whole body workout from your push-ups.