Whether you’re avoiding the gym, or just looking for ways to increase your arm strength from home, learning how to do a pushup properly can make all the difference to your home workout routine.
While strong arms are often built by lifting heavy weights, pushups are one of the best bodyweight exercises you can do to build your arm strength if you’re short on equipment or space. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that compared to resistance, pushups and weighted bench presses have similar muscle gains. (That said, if you’re looking for weights for weight training at home, we’ve got the best adjustable dumbbells here).
Pushups are an effective way to build upper body strength using just your body weight. When done correctly, a pushup will work the triceps, pecs and shoulders. They can also work your abs and strengthen the lower back.
Here’s everything you need to know about mastering the pushup and the adjustments to make the exercise more challenging. Looking for more training inspiration? We found the best abs exercises you can do it for free, an exercise that is better than squats for building your glutes, and one of the best abs when it comes to shaping a slimmer waist.
How do you do a push up?
To do a push-up, start by getting into a plank position, with your weight under your shoulders and your palms flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart. Straighten your arms and tighten your abs, thinking about sucking your belly button into your spine.
You should have a straight line from your heels to the crown of your head. Slowly, with control, bend your arms and lower your chest to the floor, pause, then lift back up to your starting position.
What are the benefits of push ups?
When done correctly, pushups work the pectorals (chests), the deltoids (shoulders), and the triceps muscles (back of your arms). They also target your abs. To see the effects of pushups, you’ll need to do more than a few reps, but if you’re new to the exercise, start with 20 pushups and build up from there.
How can you make push-ups easier or harder?
If you’re having trouble doing a pushup, try these three adjustments first:
Push ups on the wall: Place your palms flat on the wall, arms extended, and slowly lower your torso toward the wall, pause, then push yourself back up to the starting position.
Incline Pushups: You will need a block, bench, table or chair for this exercise. Place your palms on the surface and extend your legs straight behind you. Keep your body in a straight line and your elbows in your body, and perform the push-up at an angle.
Knee push ups: Alternatively, you can make the push-ups easier by lowering your knees to the floor during the exercise. From the high plank position, drop to your knees, but make sure to roll onto the tops of your knees throughout the exercise. Engage your core, bend your elbows and lower your chest to the floor before returning to your starting position.
You can also try this TikTok hack to master a pushup with a resistance band.
If you’re really looking for arm gains and find the traditional pushup too easy, here’s how to make the move harder:
diamond push ups: Diamond pushups work your triceps harder than traditional pushups. To do a diamond pushup, simply make a diamond shape with your two hands, rather than holding them shoulder-width apart throughout the exercise.
Increased Pushups: Changing your center of gravity automatically increases the intensity of the exercise. Raise your legs on a chair, step, or bench and push up from there. The higher your legs are, the harder the pushup will be.
One-arm pushups: This one is really challenging, and definitely not for beginners. From your plank position, place one hand behind your back and complete the pushup with only one arm. You can also lift one leg off the floor while pushing up to make it harder.
Weighted Pushups: Last but not least, add some weight. You can do this by using a weighted vest (this is what happened when a TG worker trained with a weight vest for a week), or, if you’re at the gym, a weighted bar plate that you can have a friend put on for you. back.