Pushups have been one of my all time favorite exercises for quite some time. I’ve talked about them on this site, offered push-up benefits, push-up tutorials and push-up challenges. However, until pretty recently I’ve been pretty quiet on the whole push-up thing and my actual act of cranking out a bunch of push-ups has been almost pretty quiet also.
It’s not that I have changed my mind about their benefits. No way. I still think they are one of the all time best bang for your buck move out there. It’s just that whereas I used to crank them out full body on a regular basis and could pretty much rock them, I can’t quite do that now. After having shoulder surgery it took me ELEVEN long months to be able to properly do a push up. In fact, I was so excited to get back in the game I posted about The Perfect Push-Up. That was quite a while ago, so truth be told, I should be back where I was before my surgery, right? Well, I am not. I will admit that I’ve been chicken to use the push-up as one of my regular exercises. I’m just plain scared of doing something to tweak my shoulder again. I know that’s pretty stupid. I need to actually use it to make sure it gets the strength it needs. I know that in my head, but have been avoiding doing them because they make me feel weak, and they are hard, and I hate not being able to do something, especially in front of people in a class. So, there is my confession.
In order to get over this fear and get those pushups back in my routine, I’ve actually changed my pushups, and I think it will benefit us all. For the past few months I’ve stopped doing a wide grip push-up and now do only a close grip push-up. Change is good. Especially change that is really good for you. These are really good and hard and better for us. In fact, they are not new. I’ve been doing them during yoga for years, and experiencing how hard they are. Now I am experiencing how hard they are and how much better they are for us!
One of the great thing about push-ups is the variety. You can do them in any number of ways, and you can do all of those variations with a close grip. During my stage of being too scared to really do push-ups I missed all the benefits. This one exercise uses so many different muscles and is really a great strength builder and tester. They work the chest, shoulder, biceps, triceps, entire core, back and glutes.
The Push-up is the one move my entire family will get in on the action. The Husband sometimes just ups and jumps to the floor and cranks out some push-ups during a TV commercial.
As you can see, push-ups are a lot more fun than folding laundry! He always asks me to join in. I always find some excuse. Now he can read this and just know I’ve been a big fat chicken. The First Son has always prided himself on his push-ups and form. He even let me photograph him in the process.
Even here The First Son is not using a wide grip method. Keeping the back completely straight and the core engaged, he’s using more than just his chest muscles. And, look, the great thing about this exercise is that you can even do it barefoot with a really horrible outfit on!
Right now I am really focusing on my form so I am generally doing them on my knees so I can get my chest completely down and will keep working to get back up to a full body. The close grip on the knees looks like this:
On your toes the close grip looks like this. My elbows are practically scraping the sides of my ribcage and my wrists are under my shoulders. Now that I’ve gotten down to the ground I’m not quite sure I can get back up!
Now I’m definitely not saying to stop doing the wide grip push-ups at all. However, that position can bother with the wrists and shoulders, so just keep that in mind. If those things do tend to bother you, try this method for getting those muscles at a slightly different angle and see what a difference it makes. I love how a simple, small tweak in position can completely change the dynamic of an exercise!
Check out The Perfect Push-up for basic pointers and this video for more info and variations.
I am committing to getting back to feeling strong in a Push-Up. Unfortunately, the only way to do that is to actually practice my push-ups. Maybe practicing those Push-Ups instead of folding that laundry is the way to go.
How do you like your push-ups? Have you added the close grip to your workout? If not, what are you waiting for? How does your family feel about push-ups? Are there any other exercises you all do to pass the time?
Enjoy Your Day!