In the past few years alone, so many new machines and exercises have become established in the field of weight training, so that many exercisers in the gym can barely decide which exercise they should ultimately perform in order to build up an athletic upper body. Typically, an opposing movement undergoes classical exercises such as the one in which one exercises pushup, In the face of the myriad machines waiting to be loaded with weight plates, it also seems strange why you should do such a pompous exercise as push ups. Am I right? Not so fast my friend, because not in vain exactly this classic is considered the most complete exercise for the upper body. Why this is so, what benefits the exercise has and how to do it properly, you will learn in the context of this article.

Why pushups deserve your attention

You may think that self-weight exercises such as push-ups do not create enough resistance to permanently promote muscle growth in the chest, shoulders, or triceps. In principle, you may also be right with this view, because compared to a set bench press with 150 kilograms, the resistance to be overcome is actually ridiculously low. But that does not mean that pushups are a waste of time. If your goal is to build muscle mass, should you be aware of what really makes your muscles grow - the weight of the workout or the actual effort your muscles need to perform? The bottom line is that it's not so much about weight, but more about getting your muscles to their limits. Why else should training principles such as the German Volume Training work with their comparatively low loads but at the same time higher volumes? At its core, it depends on the functional interaction of the muscles, which ensures that they can work as efficiently as possible. And at this point, the push-ups come into play, because they set a different stressing focus, in contrast to the classic bench press. This focus is due to the natural movement and the relatively low weight on the smaller muscles in the shoulder or the shoulder blades, the importance of which should not be underestimated for the power delivery in bench presses. So, if you're training your muscles to do push-ups and improve your shoulder mobility, you're indirectly promoting the option of putting one more slice on the bench and putting on a stronger growth stimulus.

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Work on the push-up

There is no reason to be ashamed of not being able to do a clean push-up. You'll be surprised how many strong people can not even do a push-up. Obviously, this is not because these athletes are too weak, but because they just do not do the exercise - and that is definitely a reason to be ashamed. The bottom line is that there is only one solution to this problem, namely practice. So if you are one of those people, you should start with a simplification of the exercise to get your muscles used to the stress patterns and step by step. The so-called Frauenliegestütz, which is usually carried out on the knees, but you should immediately out of your head, because the numerous ways to cheat it for the purpose of relief, are too tempting. Instead, you should change the load angle by placing your hands on a raise, which reduces the load on the target muscles and allows you to focus on learning the movement. The higher the substructure under your hands, the easier the exercise. In practice, for example, a training bench is suitable for this purpose. Continue this way until you can do three sets of at least twelve repetitions. Then you can reduce the height of the substructure or go straight to the conventional push-up.

How deep should I go down?

The answer to this question will probably surprise you, especially since our recommendation does not correspond to the pseudo-wisdom that is common in many magazines, not to go too low. We are talking about the erroneous assumption that between the upper and lower arm a maximum of 90-degree angle may exist, otherwise the shoulder would be damaged. In truth, however, there is no optimal depth of penetration, let alone a depth that would be harmful to health per se. What's more, individual shoulder anatomy determines how far you can go down on a push-up before over-stressing your joints. Even existing injuries as well as muscular imbalances have their influence. Normally, however, the human body is able to devote itself to the development of power completely painlessly within the scope of each flexion depth. So, if you have no injury history or are restricted by other medical issues, you should always try to use the greatest possible range of motion to energize as many muscle fibers as possible over a long period of time. In a nutshell: Go so deep, until you touch the ground with the tip of the nose.

How many pushups should I do?

The push-up is one of the few exercises in which volume is actually King and should be forced accordingly. Of course, that does not mean that you have to do one on Rocky Balboa and squeeze out 75 repetitions per set, because extremely high volumes on the other hand again neglect the technique. So instead of completing a few sentences with extremely many repetitions, you'd better set an overall goal of repetitions that you want to achieve. In this context, be aware that your sentences range from 15 to 20 repetitions. Continue until you reach your target replay count or you can not do six or seven reboots per set. Of course, the potential resistance to exercising with dumbbells is low. However, the shorter regeneration times, which are made possible by the training with the own body weight, not only compensate for this disadvantage, but convert it to an advantage, since the intensity of the rapidly successive stress stimuli is enormous.

How do I use push-ups the best?

Understandably, you can not use pushups haphazardly, because after all, this is a push-up exercise because it puts strain on both your chest and shoulders and triceps. In any case, it is important that you do not do push-ups when your muscles are still completely cold. Accordingly, you should especially warm up the shoulder muscles a little in advance. Under this circumstance, you can use the exercise quite variably, with the choice of performing the exercise either as a first exercise before benching or immediately after benching as a finisher. In particular, the first-mentioned variant, you should avoid in the event that you want to set up a new record on the bench, for example, because your muscles are understandably fatigued. Since you do not need any further equipment for the push-up, you can, of course, work on your technique as well as on the muscles involved, regardless of location. For example, it does not hurt to start every day with two to three sets of pushups. Not only will you be amazed at how fit you are to start your day, but also what progress you make in just a few weeks in terms of power development and muscle growth.


The bottom line is that the push-up is by no means an exercise that belongs to the fitness cemetery, but an excellent old-school exercise that should not be missing in any exercise plan. So, give yourself a jolt and with the help of your own body weight you not only promote muscle building, but also the functional flexibility of your shoulders.

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