In my last year of high school, I was known as the “push up Queen”. What brought me there? The army Cadets! I was thirteen years old and I went through the army cadets physical aptitudes test without any sort of heads up. I remember not having great results. It woke up my competitive edge. Let’s just say that I did much better on the second test and kept the push-ups going more regularly.
Why are push-ups so good? You may say that push-ups are just another way to work on your shoulders…this is…WRONG! The push-up pattern is more about keeping the integrity of your spine. In other words, it is a great way to stimulate your abdominal muscles or work your core.
Name one exercise that looks like a push-up that is often used to strengthen your core. If you are in the same process of thought, you would be thinking of planks right? How about the famous “up-up down down”? Simply put, the push-up is a moving plank…it is a moving plank pattern that works on the breaking system of the anterior chain to protect the spine. You might simply say, it is a good way to challenge your ability to keep a neutral spine (proper spine alignment).
Of course, the push-up will challenge more than the strength of the transverse abdominis, the internal and external oblique abdominals and the rectus abdominis (what shows the commonly known six-pack). It will challenge your pectoralis major, anterior deltoid, serratus anterior (stabilize the shoulder blades) , triceps brachii, posterior deltoids and so on.
You would say why do push-ups when you can do sit-ups to really fire the rectus abdominis. Sure if you do it well, you can really activate that muscle but from my experience, most of the time, people will work on their hip flexors and their neck muscles when they do that exercise. Hint: they are not working those muscles optimally. Most people also forget the importance of the transverse abdominis and their stomachs bulges out when “working their core” or even could develop diastasis recti (separation of the abdominal muscles) which is a result of a dysfunctional core that does not only occur to pregnant women. Isn’t that what you wish to avoid?
Some people might think they’re not good at doing push-ups but that is not how they’re going to get better. The more you work at it, the better you get and the easier it becomes. What if you can’t even do one push-up? So what! Try an incline push up, which will definitely make it easier for you. As this gets easier, you will be able to get closer and closer to the ground. Start as high as you need to start. Set up a starting line and keep working at it on a regular basis.
If you want to get other ideas on what kind of push-ups you could do, you can now follow me on Instagram at coachveroberts as I will be challenging myself to do 22 push ups, 22 days in a row. The challenge will be to do a different kind of push up each day.