The Push-Up: Exercise Progressions

Whether you’re someone with a shoulder injury or someone looking for another exercise to spice up their exercise program, the push-up may be the exercise for you. Read on to learn about the benefits of push-ups and examples of variations you can try.

Why is the push-up good?

The push-up is a great strengthening exercise that can target many muscle groups, including the chest, shoulder, arms, and core. It places the body in a weight-bearing position, which can help improve joint stability and your ability to support your own body weight with your arms. This can become useful in everyday activities, such as pushing heavy items or getting up from the bed or floor.

The push-up is also an exercise that can easily be performed at home as many of its variations do not require equipment, and there are a vast number of ways it can be progressed and regressed to target your current ability.

What does the conventional (floor) push-up look like?

A floor push-up involves propping yourself up on your hands and feet in a plank position. Keeping the back and legs straight, the body is lowered as far as you can towards the ground by bending the elbows. The body is then pushed back up using upper body strength back to the starting position.

For some people, this push-up can be either too easy or too challenging. Read on to learn about how we can modify the exercise to suit your level.

Incline or Wall push-up

An incline push-up is an example of an easier version of the floor push-up. This is where your hands are placed on an elevated surface so you do not need to support all of your body weight. You can start with a surface as high as a wall to make the push-up easier, and slowly reduce the height as you get stronger (e.g. kitchen bench, step).

Push-up on Knees

A push-up performed on the knees is another example of an easier version of the floor push-up. This also ensures only part of your body weight is incorporated into the push-up.

Stability Ball Push-up

A push-up performed on an uneven surface, such as a stability ball, is a way to progress your push-ups. This can challenge your shoulder and core stability as you try to maintain your balance.

Hand-Clap Push-up

A push-up with a hand-clap is an advanced version of a push-up. This involves pushing off the ground through your hands as fast as you can, performing a clap in mid-air, and then landing on both hands. This can be more challenging as it can also target additional aspects of upper body movement, such as speed, power and impact. This is a great option for sports involving fast or high-impact upper body movements.

In essence, the push-up is a great strength exercise to consider with shoulder or upper body training. There are many different variations you can try depending on your level, and most do not require equipment and can be performed at home. If you would like more guidance with your rehabilitation or training, feel free to book with our physiotherapists or exercise physiologists today.

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