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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Brandon’s Fitness Corner

    In my October 1 article, I went over the benefits of adding push-ups to your fitness regimen and laid out the basics of doing them. Here is a brief recap:

    1. Begin by lying flat on the ground and placing your hands below your shoulders.

    2. Place your feet together with your toes touching the floor as they will be the pivot point for the rest of your body throughout the exercise.

    3. Straighten your legs and tighten your core as if bracing for a punch.

    4. Keeping your entire body straight, push your body up until your arms are fully extended and your elbows are locked out. Your head should be in a neutral position, your gaze focused perpendicular to the ground.

    5. Lower your body back down to the starting position and lightly touch your chest to the ground at the bottom of the movement. Repeat. And repeat. And repeat’hellip;

    As with all exercises, quality trumps quantity. To ensure that you use proper form when doing push-ups, here is a list of common ‘cheats’, courtesy of the Crossfit Journal article, ‘The Push-Up’ (March 2003, Issue 07). Make sure you are not guilty of any of the following:

    1. Sagging – dropping the stomach in order to touch the ground early.

    2. Piking – sticking the buttocks in the air.

    3. Resting – staying at the top position of the push-up for too long or lying on the ground.

    4. Bouncing – bouncing on the floor with your chest and stomach in order to pop back up without any effort.

    5. ‘Yogaing’ – the head and neck come up from the bottom of the movement followed by the chest and stomach.

    6. Reaching – reaching with your head and neck to find the bottom of the movement early.

    7. Shorting – not coming all the way up or going all the way down.

    Since the basic push-up is such a well-known exercise and can get mundane rather quickly, here are a few variations of this effective conditioning tool. Most of these variations involve placing your feet and or hands in different positions relative to your shoulders.

    Staggered Push-up

    Place each of your hands on the ground so that they do not run along the line of your shoulders. For example, when in the starting position, place your left hand behind your shoulder and your right hand in front. You can also place them narrower or wider than shoulder width apart. Mix it up and see what feels right for you.

    Side to Side Push-up

    Begin this variation with a wide grip. Lower yourself down to the bottom position of a push-up. Instead of coming back up, shift your body towards each of your hands, alternating between your left and right. Do not rest on the ground.

    Fingers In Push-up

    Instead of placing your hands where your fingers are pointed in front of you, place them so that your fingers are pointing towards your toes.

    Hand on Hand Push-up

    This is basically an ultra narrow grip push-up where you place one hand on top of the other, directly under your chest.

    Superman Push-up

    Begin by lying on your stomach with your feet together and your arms extended in front of you about shoulder width apart. Push your body up off the ground so that only your feet and hands are touching it. If you cannot push yourself up in this position, bring your hands closer to your body.

    Hindu Push-up

    Place your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Your hands will be much closer to your feet than in a regular push-up so that your butt will be sticking in the air and they will be shoulder width apart. Push your weight back onto your heels so that your arms are locked out and you feel a good stretch in your hamstrings, the muscles that run along the back of your upper legs. Begin the exercise by bending at the elbows and bringing your body towards the ground so that your body is parallel to it. Once in this position, bring your body up and look towards the sky, locking your arms out and bending your back. If you are familiar with yoga, the starting position for the exercise is the downward dog, and the ending position is the upward dog, or the cobra. Return to the starting position by keeping your arms straight and pushing back onto your heels.

    These are but a few of the countless variations of push-ups that you can perform, not only in the gym, but anywhere the law of gravity holds true. Give them a shot and you’ll be surprised at the quality of the workout you can get using just your own bodyweight.

    Brandon Chung

    [email protected]

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