Unique Benefits of Different Types of Push Ups

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Published: 21st January 2009
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In addition to the many benefits of standard push ups (elevated heart rate, total body conditioning, etc.), there are many variations on the simple exercise that will allow you to specifically target different muscle regions. None of the push up variations require extra equipment, with the exception of the elevated push up, which requires a chair or some other means of elevating your feet.

The Standard Push up:

Proper position is with your body in a straight, horizontal position, with you hands shoulder-width apart. One proper repetition involves lowering your body to the point that your chest touches the ground, and then lifting yourself back to starting position.

Wide-stance Push up:

This type of push up is designed to place more emphasis on your chest than the standard push ups. This is very similar to a butterfly machine. By placing your hands in a wide position, i.e. wider than shoulder width, you will be forcing your chest to do more of the work. This push up also lightens the load on your triceps, so it is a good substitution towards the end of your workout, if your triceps are too exhausted to continue, and you feel like trudging on.

Diamond Push up:

Place your body in a straight, horizontal position. Slide your feet apart to approximately shoulder-width. Place your hands together, directly under your sternum, with the tips of your index fingers and thumbs touching. Your fingers and thumb should form sort of a diamond or triangle shape. This type of push ups puts a heavy emphasis on the triceps, and lightens the load on the pectoral muscles.

Elevated Push up:

The elevated push up is exactly the same as a standard push up, but it involves elevating your feet by placing them on a chair, or surface. By lifting your feet, you will be accomplishing two things: increasing the amount of weight being lifted, and shift emphasis to the upper pectorals. This is very similar to an inclined bench press.

The elevated push up can also involve elevating your chest and upper body while leaving your feet on the ground. This is significantly easier. By doing this, the load is shifted to the lower chest, similar to a declined bench press. Wide-stance and diamond push ups can also be done in an elevated position for chest and triceps isolation training.

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