The push-up is a calisthenics exercise that will simultaneously work a number of your muscles. The push-up can provide a strenuous workout in virtually any location and may be completed in many variations to concentrate on particular areas of your upper body. Push-ups are commonly used during military athletic training, and they have traditionally been a staple in physical education classes.
A push-up is performed by lying face down on the floor with your fingers pointed outward and palms based at shoulder level. In a controlled and steady movement, elevate your frame off the ground until all of your body weight is balanced on your palms and toes. In a slow manner, allow your body to return to its previous position and repeat.
Push-ups train the chest, biceps, triceps, deltoids and abdominals. By alternating the position of your hands or feet, variations of the push-up, like the incline and decline, can be accomplished. According to a March 2008 article published in the “New York Times,” fitness legend Jack LaLanne once established a world record by completing 1,000 push-ups in 23 minutes. “It takes strength to do them, and it takes endurance to do a lot of them,” said LaLanne, who died in 2011 at the age of 96. “It’s a good indication of what kind of physical condition you’re in.”
Because push-ups are body-weight exercises that don’t require weights or equipment, you can perform them daily. However, rest is an imperative feature to exercise that enables your muscles to recover and ultimately grow. Stew Smith, a former Navy Seal and fitness author certified as a strength and conditioning specialist with the National Strength and Conditioning Association, recommends a respite from push-ups. “I would not do push-ups daily,” Smith says. “Give yourself a day off in between big push-up workouts.”
MayoClinic.com urges you to talk with a doctor before implementing a new training regimen if you are overweight or haven’t exercised in three months or more. Push-ups are difficult and not an exercise that you should immediately undertake without proper preparation.