You Can Get Fit!

Giving You A Right To Bare Arms

Posted on: August 17, 2010

There are still a few days left in summer to expose our arms and shoulders, right? What’s that you say—you’re embarrassed by your Olive Oyl arms? Well, one good way to fix that: Push-ups. Waaahh. We dread them, yet they work. Isn’t it true that the exercises we need the most are the ones that we dislike? Push-ups work your chest, shoulders, biceps, and triceps. Properly done, you’re also working your core muscles as you stabilize your body in a plank position. There’s a reason push-ups are embraced by the fitness community as well as by Pilates instructors and yogis.

To perform a proper push-up, place your hands on the floor underneath your shoulders, then take them about 2 inches wider (this feels more comfortable for most people). You can do a push-up with knees on the floor, or with toes, to make things more advanced. Whatever your choice, you should form a long line from your contact point to the crown of your head, without letting your hips stick up nor droop down. (Hey, did you just feel your abs when you lowered your hips in line with your body? Yeah, I did, too.) This is your plank position. Also, be sure that your ears aren’t jamming into your shoulders. Bend your elbows to lower yourself down as far as you feel comfortable, then push back up. Are you breathing? (Good. You should be!) You don’t have to lower yourself all the way down in a push-up!

I recommend starting out with two sets of 8 push-ups. You can build up by increasing the number of repetitions per set, doing push-ups on your toes (if you had previously done them on your knees), lowering down farther as long as your elbows don’t hurt, and adding more sets.

As you do your push-ups, make sure you’re looking down at the floor and not back toward your knees or toes. It’s a common problem—I did that for a long time! If you look toward the floor, your spine will remain lengthened rather than crunched over at the top.

Do you have the hang of it and want more? Try the Hundred Pushups challenge! And bare those strong arms!

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