– Monojit Ghosh is a former gymnast and fitness trainer and gymnastics coach at Art Corner Gymnastics, Bangalore
An excellent home-based physical workout activity is push-ups. Push-ups work the triceps, pectoral muscles, lats, and shoulders as well as strengthen the lower back and core muscles – Monojit Ghosh
Do it right
- Hold your body in a high plank position, with your spine and arms straight.
- When you are pushing up and down, have a good range of motion, bending your elbows to 90 degrees. Point your elbows backwards and not sideways while you bend down. To protect shoulders, avoid flaring your elbows outwards.
- Correct form and technique are important to avoid injury and lower back or shoulder pain. Keep your back straight throughout the exercise. To avoid arching your back, tilt your pelvis backward. Use your core and glutes to keep your spine steady. You should also look down, instead of up, to maintain a neutral neck position. Make sure your back and neck are aligned at all times.
- If push-ups are too difficult at first, do them on your knees or against a wall till you become comfortable.
Do two sets of push-ups two-three times per week. Women should aim for four-eight reps per set, while men should aim for 10-15 push-ups per set. Just two-three sessions over a few weeks will show excellent results.
Here are a few common types of push-ups.
Done right, the basic push-up can help you get steady with good form, and allow you to increase repetitions.
Keep your legs on a sofa or any steady surface and take the push-up position.
Keep your hands on a raised, hard surface like a bench and legs on the floor. This is easier than the regular push-up. Beginners can start with inclined push-ups.
Touch your thumb and index fingers to make a diamond or triangular shape. This is rather difficult at first but your strength will slowly improve. If you can’t go all the way down at first, just go half-way.
Place your hands wider than your shoulder width, and bend down. These are relatively easy.
Keep your legs farther apart than your shoulders. Touch the floor, and bring your head to a position between your arms. Make a mountain position and do push-ups.
Place your hands wide and as you go down, lean towards one elbow. Then come up again and lean towards the other elbow. This is tough initially, but with practice, you can ace it.
As you push up, take your hands off the floor and land slowly. Use a soft surface at first.
After you push-up, do a full clap, loud enough to be heard. When you can do this, you can try explosive push-ups with claps.