Chuck Norris doesn’t do push ups. He pushes the world down.
That’s right. I opened with a Chuck Norris joke about push ups.
But seriously, I can’t think of a simpler, more versatile muscle toning exercise EVER. And if you need motivation to actually do push ups, just watch some Friends reruns, and check out Rachel’s arms, particularly when she’s gesturing angrily at Ross. Shoo. Smokin’.
The best part about push ups is that there are a gazillion variations, and you can work virtually every muscle in your body. (There is, by the way, no such thing as a “girl” push up or a “guy” push up. They are called “modified” or “standard” push ups. I’m a girl and I do push ups on my toes, therefore the name “guy” push up is not valid.) It’s important to make sure your body is in a straight line from your head to your heels. Keep your chest open and your shoulders strong, don’t let your hips drop, and try to look forward, not down.
Below are a few of my favorite kinds of push ups. You can modify as you see fit!
1) Diamond push ups. Also called close-grip or triangle push ups. Pretty much the same as a standard push up, but instead of putting your hands under your shoulders, make a diamond with your hands. Hence the name.
2) 3-count push ups. Start in standard or modified push up position. Lower down a third of the way for one count, another third for the second count, and the rest of the way until you’re an inch off the floor for the third count. Hold it there with your abs tight and you’ll start to feel it from your head to your toes, then lift back up in three counts.
3) Push up with leg lift. Standard push up position. Lift one foot off the ground and hold. Do a push up. Lower your foot and then repeat it on the other side. You’ll feel it in your arms, abs, and hamstrings!
4) Cliff scalers. Start in standard position with your hands a little wider than shoulder width and your feet together. Walk your left hand to your right hand while at the same time stepping your right foot a little wider than shoulder. Move your right hand out past shoulder width while stepping your left foot to your right foot. Repeat three more times, and then do a push up. Now go back the other way. Yowza!