Welcome to Modify This Move, a series that will provide you with all the information you need to modify a common exercise to suit your needs, your body, and your mood. Each tale explains a fundamental fitness action in detail before offering a variety of variations based on your current level of fitness or energy, any current or past ailments, or the muscles you wish to focus on the most. So leave your ego at the door and make sure every workout is appropriate for where you are right now.
Push-ups are an extremely effective upper-body exercise, as you can see by seeing someone forcefully complete a set. Push-ups, according to the American Council on Exercise , are a powerful exercise because they put the muscles in your arms, chest, and shoulders to the test.
However, push-ups do more than merely develop powerful triceps and deltoids. According to Phyllicia Bonanno , an SWEAT yoga instructor, the standard exercise also increases core strength and stability while working wrist mobility. She continues, “As you lower, you’re using your strength to hold everything in one straight line.” The push-up is a versatile exercise that more than justifies a place in your workout regimen.
In spite of this, there are other exercises that might help you gain strength outside the standard push-up. You can choose a toned-down push-up variety to avoid feeling mentally or physically overextended, whether you’re new to the activity or a seasoned athlete looking for a workout that’s easy on the body. And if you have aches in your wrists or elbows, don’t try to endure the discomfort. Choose a push-up variation that makes you feel strong and at ease instead. Whatever your motivation, there is no shame in altering your workout to suit your current requirements, capabilities, and objectives.
Are you prepared to try the upper-body exercise? Once you’ve mastered the standard push-up, refer to the instructions below to see how to alter it up with one of the five modifications that Bonanno presented, which are suitable for people of various fitness levels and skills.
HOW TO DO A PUSH-UP A. Begin on the floor in a high plank position with your legs extended and your feet hip-width apart.
B. Tuck your tailbone in and move your navel toward your spine to activate your core. Draw your shoulders away from your ears and down to lock in your lats. Use your quads and glutes. elbows outward until arms are at a 45-degree angle to the body.
C. Maintain a neutral neck, engage your core, and make sure your body is aligned from head to toe by looking down. Slowly lower your body until it is about 3 inches off the ground by bending at the elbows.
D. Push yourself away from the ground to go back to where you were.
Even while the typical push-up is frequently seen as a foundational exercise, not everyone enjoys them. You should feel free to experiment with different push-up variations until you find one (or a few) that makes you feel strong and pain-free. Consider a push-up variant that enables you to achieve your goals if you want to increase the level of difficulty, focus on a certain muscle, or polish your form without the use of any bells and whistles.
Here, you may find push-up variations that increase or decrease the difficulty of the exercise, such as push-up variations for wrist and elbow pain, push-up variations to enhance balance, and push-up variations to work your core. Regardless of your decision, keep tuning into your body as you complete your reps. Bonanno advises to cease doing anything immediately if it causes you any pain or other negative feelings. “Return to performing the standard push-up, or attempt another that is more comfortable for you.”
KNEE PUSH-UP IS A PUSH-UP VARIATION TO SCALE DOWN. Consider doing this push-up variation if you’re brand-new to push-ups or want to perfect your form. According to Bonanno, “Resting your knees takes away some of the weight while you’re lowering to the floor,” making it easier on your core and upper body.
A. Place your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips in a tabletop position on the floor. Step back with knees bent until body is straight from head to knees, then place tips of toes on ground.
B. Tuck your tailbone in and move your navel toward your spine to activate your core. Draw your shoulders away from your ears and down to lock in your lats. elbows outward until arms are at a 45-degree angle to the body.
C. To keep your neck neutral and your core engaged, look down and slightly forward. Slowly lower your body until it is about 3 inches off the ground by bending at the elbows.
LEVEL UP PUSH-UP VARIATION: SPIDERMAN PUSH-UP This push-up variation will undoubtedly make your core tremble. Your core (which, by the way, isn’t simply your abdominal muscles) needs to work even harder to keep you steady throughout the workout because you’ll drag one knee near your armpit while lowering down into a push-up, adds Bonanno. Your arms will also have to bear an additional amount of weight during the exercise, so you may anticipate an increase in biceps size, she says.
A. To begin, assume a high plank position on the floor with your legs outstretched and your feet hip-width apart.
B. Tuck your tailbone in and move your navel toward your spine to activate your core. Draw your shoulders away from your ears and down to lock in your lats. Use your quads and glutes.
C. Extend your elbows so your arms are at a 45-degree angle to your torso. Maintain a neutral neck, engage your core, and make sure your body is erect from head to toe by looking down.
D. Lift the left foot off the ground and drive the left knee up to tap the left elbow, pausing about three inches above the floor. Slowly bend at the elbows to lower the torso.
E. Push off the ground and bring your left foot back down to the ground to get back to where you were. On the other side, repeat.
WRIST PAIN PUSH-UP VARIATION: PUSH-UP ON DUMBBELLS Consider trying this push-up version, which requires holding onto the handles of a pair of dumbbells, if you have wrist aches and pains. According to Bonanno, doing so will relieve some of the pressure on your wrists and reduce your pain.
A. On the floor, arrange yourself in a high plank posture with your feet hip-width apart, your legs extended, and your hands resting on dumbbells underneath your shoulders.
TRICEPS PUSH-UP AS A PUSH-UP VARIATION FOR ELBOW PAIN In this push-up version, you’ll maintain your elbows tucked next to your ribcage rather than pushing them out at your sides. “You have greater control and are able to drop down without having as much pressure on the elbows when the elbows are brought in close to you,” adds Bonanno. This exercise therefore has a lower risk of exacerbating any current elbow pain. another benefit? According to Bonanno, this small modification to your form also aids in triceps strength development.
C. Maintain a neutral neck, engage your core, and make sure your body is aligned from head to toe by looking down. Slowly lower body while keeping biceps close to sides, stopping about 3 inches above the floor.
PUSH-UP MEDICINE BALL PUSH-UP: A VARIATION TO IMPROVE BALANCE AND CORE STABILITY The standard push-up is transformed into a significant stability challenge and balance-building exercise when your hands are placed on top of a small, rolling medicine ball rather than the flat ground, according to Bonanno. In particular, as you lower yourself into a push-up and then raise yourself back up into a high plank posture, your core will have to work extra hard to keep your body steady.
A. To begin, assume a high plank position on the floor with your feet hip-width apart, your legs extended, and your hands resting on a medicine ball squarely underneath your chest.
Artist and photographer Jenna Brillhart Phyllicia Bonanno, a fitness professional and model
Makeup and hair: Tee Chavez Clothing: Aerie