Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tighten + Tone Tuesday


Happy Tighten and Tone Tuesday! This week we're looking at the push-up. Loved by men and often feared by women, the push-up is an exercise you should embrace if you want to see results!  Although the push-up focuses on strengthening the chest, triceps, and shoulders, it can act as a total body exercise when done correctly.  So, how do you do it correctly? We're so glad you asked! Here are your Perfect Push-Up Guidelines:

Step One: Find a spot on the floor and set yourself up on your hands and knees.  Place your hands shoulder width apart with your thumbs directly below your shoulders. Pull your shoulder blades down your back by contracting or squeezing these muscles.  Engage (tighten) your abs.

Step Two: Extend your legs so that your body weight now rests on your hands and toes.  Check to make sure your entire body is straight. Your head should be aligned with the spine. Your feet should be together and your abs should be tight.

Step Three: Get ready, get set, go! Now you're ready for the push-up.  Slowly lower your body by bending the elbows. Your elbows should bend back at a 45 degree angle away from the body.  Continue to lower your body with your glutes (butt muscles) and thigh muscles contracted (squeezed) until your chin or chest touch the floor. If you can't get this low, don't worry. Do focus on keeping your hips, shoulders, and neck in one straight line.

Step Four: Return to your starting position.  As you move, think about gripping the ground with your hands and pushing the floor away from you. This helps engage your muscles. Extend your elbows until you are back to your starting position. Make sure that you are maintaining a straight line with your body. Don't let your hips lift up or dip down.  

Check your form against these perfect push-ups from our friends at ACE (the American Council on Exercise):



Repeat for 10-15 repetitions. After 60 seconds of rest try another set, working up to 3 sets.  Having trouble performing your push-up? The closer your legs are together., the harder the push-up will be.  Try widening your leg position.  Still too hard? Drop to your knees or perform your push-up on an incline. Try resting your arms on a bench and lowering at an angle.  Still too hard? Try your push-up off of the wall. Continue practicing and focusing on staying in alignment. If your hips dip or rise up, discontinue the exercise.


Did you do any push-ups today? What do you think about this exercise? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below: