Any athlete striving for a higher level of fitness must develop a powerful upper body. But time isn’t always on your side. Between practice, school and family, your busy life leaves little time to work out. If it's the end of a day when you haven't exercised, try these three types of Push-Ups for a quick workout. They require nothing but your bodyweight and a flat surface.
The Standard Push-Up works the chest, triceps and anterior deltoids, making it one of the most effective exercises for developing a strong, powerful upper body. It's a staple of all military workouts, and it should be in yours. To begin, lie on your stomach and place your hands by your armpits, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Straighten your legs, so that your body forms a straight line from your neck to your ankles. Push through your hands to extend your arms. Engage your core and keep your body straight. Lower until your chest touches the ground. Perform 10-20 reps, depending on your level of strength. If you cannot do at least 10 reps, shorten your range of motion. To add difficulty, increase or decrease speed.
Use the same setup, but keep your hands directly beneath your shoulders. Resist the urge to let your elbows stick out, like in the Standard Push-Up. Keep them tight to your body. Don't let your hips sag or float up. This exercise works more of your triceps while still hitting your chest and anterior deltoids. Perform 8-15 reps and increase or decrease speed for a different challenge.
This Push-Up places more emphasis on your chest. Move your hands 6 to 12 inches away from your shoulders. Engage your core and push yourself off the ground. Perform 8-15 reps. Once again, use speed to add challenge. If you experience pain in your sternum [center of your chest] or elsewhere, shorten your range of motion and move your hands closer together.
Mix these different Push-Ups into your workout, playing with the variables for a total of four to six sets. For example, do two sets of Standard Push-Ups—one at a medium tempo, the other more quickly—then move on to the other two types. Stay aware of how your body feels, so you don’t strain your muscles. You are now working to build a powerful upper body!