Working out can be a time consuming and potentially expensive affair, especially if you join a gym and have to travel to get there. If that doesn’t sound appealing, consider working out at home and performing bodyweight exercises like squats, lunges and push ups. Among all the exercises you can do, though, push ups are one of the most effective. They are extremely accessible, scalable to your fitness level and very beneficial.
There aren’t many exercises that engage every muscle in the body, burn significant calories and tone up the abs quickly. Fortunately, push-ups are one of those moves that provide major benefits without taking too much time to actually do. This all-in-one move strengthens the core, upper body and quads, and will leave you feeling like you got a killer, total-body workout in just a few minutes of action.
As soon as you reach an advanced level of fitness, you are likely to discard the push-up in favour of the bench press, cable racks or the pec dec, dazzled like a kid in a sweet shop at the range of options available to you.
However, the benefits of push ups are many.
A few peak-time trips to the gym and you’ll soon see that floor space is a lot easier to get hold of than bench time, while keeping your hand in with the push-up will allow you get a decent workout when you just don’t have time to leave the house.
Don’t ever think that you’re missing out, as the push-up is a complex compound move that works your chest, triceps and core.
Here are five reasons to incorporate push-ups into your workout every day:
- Build upper body strength.
By progressively adding reps to your push-up set each day, you’ll significantly improve your upper body strength without having to lift a ton of weight. Push-ups target the chest and shoulders, developing a strong, defined upper body.
- Strengthen your core (without crunches!).
Event though push-ups are considered an upper body exercise, every muscle in the core is engaged during the move if performed correctly: the transverse abdominous and rectus abdominous are working hard to stabilize the spine. This helps tighten and tone the stomach without doing crunches. Push-ups are one of the fastest ways to get a defined stomach quickly.
- Increase energy quickly.
When you’re feeling sluggish, drop down and do a set of push-ups for an instant energy boost. The move improves circulation, builds heat in the body and fires up the brain to work more efficiently. Even if the folks in the office look at you funny, you’ll feel much more energized and ready to tackle any task after you perform those push-ups.
- Increase bone mass.
Bone mass naturally declines with age, which can leave bones prone to fracture. It’s crucial to perform weight-bearing exercises to keep bones strong. Since push-ups strengthen major muscle groups as well as the wrists and elbows, your risk of injury will be reduced because you’re keeping these body parts strong.
- Increase metabolic rate.
Since push-ups challenge multiple muscles at the same time, the heart has to work harder to pump blood and the breath quickens. This raises the metabolic rate in the body, helping to promote weight loss. This is a great combination with the strength benefits of the exercise to improve overall body composition.
A great way to build lean muscle, burn fat and improve overall fitness is to do one set of push-ups each day. Convinced? Here’s how to do it:
Start by doing as many push-ups as possible in a row. As soon as you feel like you need to rest, finish the set. Take this number and use it as a bench mark each day. For example, if you start and get eight push-ups in a row without resting, that’s the number you’ll work off every day after.
Each subsequent day, add two more push-ups even if you have to rest to reach the number. So if on the second day you get nine in a row without stopping, take a rest and then do one more to add two to your previous day’s total. One day three, you will progress to 12. This is a great way to build strength quickly, in the familiar surroundings of your home.