Pushups are a boon to the entire body for several reasons. Although some muscles are used particularly hard, the whole body works together. So, you get an effective total body workout. You also benefit from the fact that it never gets boring, because there are numerous different variations of push-ups. In addition, there are many so-called pre-exercises with which you can approach the right push-ups while learning them. The range of benefits and possibilities with push-ups is seemingly unlimited. So, let's take a closer look at the whole thing.
What are the benefits of push-ups?
One of the biggest benefits in terms of weight training or general fitness with push-ups is the activation of the entire body. In fact, every muscle is at work. Probably few people think of this when they lower down and push up while performing them, to then feel a burning sensation in mainly chest, triceps as well as shoulders. But in fact, quite a few other muscles are also involved, giving you the following benefits:
- Strengthening & supporting all muscles
- Stretching of the muscles for increased flexibility
- Improving stamina
- Protection from injury
If we were to go into even more detail, we would discover numerous other small benefits such as positive effects on cardiovascular function or else an improvement in balance and agility.
Among all the benefits, we should highlight the stretching of the muscles and the protection against injuries. Because above all, these are features that unfortunately often go under. Here, push-ups score points because they protect against injuries to the shoulder joint in particular. This is because we are in a very small socket and is also often neglected in everyday life. When learning push-ups, you turn this weakness into a strength. Furthermore, push-ups stretch the biceps and the back as soon as you press up and lower again. This results in more flexibility for the biceps as well as the back and better shaping of these muscles.
A lot of trainers and greats of the sport are convinced: push-ups are one of the most effective exercises. Even Mark Lauren, best-selling author of the book Fit Without Equipment and former soldier trainer, can hardly imagine a sports program without push-ups.
Which muscles do push-ups train?
Let's go through in detail the individual muscles and how they are challenged by learning push-ups:
- Chest muscles
- Triceps & biceps
- Shoulder muscles
- Back muscles
- Glutes & leg muscles.
Here we take on the chest muscles first: Although this is by no means the largest muscle group in the body, there is probably no other as highly coveted by numerous athletes. After all, a trained chest flaunts like a figurehead and improves one's self-confidence. Trained pectoral muscles are also an advantage for women, as this way they easily lift the bust and make it appear more voluminous. Now push-ups, like the bench press with equipment, are THE exercise par excellence for a strong chest.
Continue in the text with the upper arms: The triceps is that three-headed muscle located on the back of the upper arms. It is massively challenged during push-ups, as it supports the chest during pressing exercises. Since many people neglect the triceps in order to achieve certain ideals of beauty, it is reasonable to really challenge it with push-ups. For its part, push-ups stretch the biceps, which improves the mobility and appearance of the muscle.
A few words about the shoulders: they are there so that you can rotate and lift your upper arms. The more dynamically you challenge and train your shoulders, the stronger they become and - most importantly - the more resistant they are to injury.
Individual muscles of the back are also challenged: On the one hand, you strengthen the back extensor in the lower back, which is neglected especially in office work, and on the other hand, the rhomboid muscles that pull the shoulders back.
Last but not least, the buttocks and legs: You have to keep them under tension when learning push-ups. By doing so, you will tone these muscles and gain greater control over body tension in the lower body, which is often neglected.
What mistakes can be made when doing push-ups?
Basically, there are not many mistakes you can make. This is because the most diverse variations of push-ups give you a lot of leeway. Nevertheless, you must not neglect elementary basic rules if you want to have success for fitness and health. Common mistakes are:
- Body center: This is often not under tension and so the body sags. For effective push-ups, the whole body must form a straight line.
- Wrists: sometimes the position of the wrists is not right. To help you groove in, push-up grips are very helpful for protecting the wrists and for a neutral hand position.
- Too little strength: In fact, it is possible that there is not enough strength for a push-up. Then you should train easier variations first.
Apart from these top 3, there are no significant obstacles. So now that you are optimally prepared, let's turn to the question: How can you learn push-ups?
How to perform the push-up perfectly
For you to achieve the perfect classic push-up and also learn its other variations, we will proceed step by step. First, we will look at some preliminary exercises with which you can train individual components of the push-up. Then we will focus on the push-up itself.
The perfect push-up: preliminary exercise
The road to perfect push-ups can be long. But with the following three preliminary exercises, you will keep this path as short as possible when learning push-ups:
- Planks Position
- Biceps Curls
- Incline Push-up
- Turning Point Exercise
This is what is known as the forearm support. First, you build tension throughout your body. Your legs, buttocks, back and head must form a straight line. You support yourself with your elbows on the floor, directly beneath your shoulders. Now hold this position with your body tensed.
With the Biceps Curls you strengthen your biceps and forearms so that your entire arms are better prepared for the weight. To do this, take a weight in your hand and let it hang vertically next to your body in your hand. The arm is extended. Now move only the forearm with the weight upwards, keeping your upper arm and elbow in the same place. Then return to the starting position and repeat this process over and over again.
This is an elevated push-up. Because it is elevated, the exercise is easier for you and you can build up strength for a real push-up. You simply find a staircase, parallettes or take a chair and place your hands on it. Your elbows should be directly next to your torso and your whole body should be tensed in a straight line. Now push yourself up from this position and slowly lower yourself. Then go back up and lower again...
Learn more about our parallettes here:
The Turning Point Exercise
Two variations: You get into a push-up position with your body back in a straight line and now go as low as you can to come back up afterward. Alternatively, you can do it the other way around: You lie down with your chest on the floor, bring your body under tension and push yourself up with good form as far as you can, then lower yourself back down. By going only as far as you can strength-wise - just to your turning point - your strength increases step by step. This leads to the fact that you are eventually ready to learn real push-ups.
Finally making progress in calisthenics training?
If you are a Calisthenics beginner or advanced and want to progress faster and get the most out of your training with a plan and expert knowledge, then be sure to check out our new online training platform the Calisthenics Academy.
The Perfect Push-Up: Execution
Now that you've already approached the preliminary exercises, you're ready to learn proper push-ups. You have improved two very important attributes in the preliminary exercises, body tension and strength, and your body should now be ready for the challenge:
- Get into the start position: arms fully extended and toes on the floor. The elbows are at the level of the shoulders. The rest of the body forms - daily greets the groundhog - of course again a straight line with full tension.
- Now slowly lower yourself down while maintaining the tension. You never lie down completely, but stay lifted right above the floor.
- Now push yourself up a little faster, then slowly down again, repeating this sequence over and over.
FAQ: Questions & Answers about learning push-ups
Can I do push-ups every day or do I have to rest the corresponding muscles?
After an intense full-body workout - which push-ups are - it is always recommended to take a day off. So, if you have a significant amount of training time or a particularly intense workout, then one day of rest afterward is the minimum. After all, muscles grow during the resting phase.
Which aids are suitable?
Among all the previously mentioned push-up grips stand out in particular. In addition to protecting the wrists, they also provide a greater range of motion and a higher training effect. See also our article on the advantages of push-up grips.
To our push-up grips!
What does a push-up training plan for beginners look like?
Since you are starting small and want to grow big, you need to be patient and take it one step at a time. Therefore, start with three sets of push-ups in a number of repetitions that is possible for you. The only important thing is: do the execution correctly! If the previous workload is too light, then increase it moderately and so on. Example: At the beginning there are 3 sets with
8 push-ups each. After one week you can do 5 sets of 8 push-ups each and so on. You need to listen to your own body here: Everyone is their own best trainer!
What are the variations of the push-up?
If you are doing well with your push-ups and your strength is increasing constantly, then you can try different variations for push-ups: For example, diamond push-ups, where you bring your hands and arms so close together that the thumb and index finger of both hands form a triangle. Otherwise, wide push-ups are an option, where you place your hands much wider than shoulder-width. Add to those elevated push-ups, where your feet are elevated and your arms are on the floor. Last but not least, don't forget the handstand pushup for absolute pros: What you are doing here should be clear...In our blog article, you will also find all kinds of push-ups.
How do you incorporate push-ups into a full-body workout?
If you are aiming for a full-body workout, then push-ups are always recommended as a highly effective basic exercise at the beginning of the workout. This way you get the most out of your strength with the most promising exercise. It doesn't get any better for your entire body!
Conclusion: Learn push-ups with patience and precision!
As you could see, push-ups are an absolutely strong exercise. However, you must perform them correctly. Therefore, when learning how to do push-ups, use the numerous preliminary exercises and proceed with patience during your training. If you start incorporating the wrong execution into your workout, it will be very difficult for you to get rid of them, making your training hardly effective.
Are you looking for the perfect Calisthenics equipment to start out? We at Pullup & Dip offer you various high-quality Calisthenics equipment. Go check it out now!