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This month, we’re doing a 10-Day Push-Up Challenge! It starts May 15th!

So, if you’re looking for a fitness challenge to get you started on your goals of feeling better, getting more active, building more strength or losing weight, this challenge is for you!

Working out or moving around daily gives us more energy, increases our metabolism, helps enhance our mood, and keeps our body strong and healthy.

Need a little more motivation? Here are a few benefits that may inspire you to join us and even bring your friends along…

  • Strengthens your core
    • Push-ups are next level planks, which we did in last month’s Fitness Challenge, only this time we’re adding more upper body strength-building. Engaging your abdominal muscles is essential to this movement as it not only protects your (lower) back, but also keeps your body aligned so that you are working all the right muscles and building strength.
    • Having a strong core means better balance and posture
  • Helps prevent shoulder injury
    • You may have heard about the rotator cuff, which is a group of muscles in the shoulder (the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis and teres minor muscles). The rotator cuff is responsible for shoulder movement and stabilizing your shoulder joint, so when it is strong, it can help prevent shoulder injury
    • Fun fact: the rotator cuff has been the cause of pain for two-thirds of shoulder pain issues according to American Family Physician in 2011.
  • Helps improve circulation
    • Whenever you get your heart pumping, whether through aerobic or anaerobic exercise, you are improving circulation.
    • Fun Fact: Studies have shown that anaerobic or resistance training, like push-ups, show a greater increase in circulation.
    • Check out Exercises to Increase Blood Circulation for further information
  • Burns lots of calories
    • You are using so many muscles when you’re doing a push-up – the rotator cuff (4 muscles), bicep, tricep, pectorals (i.e. chest), abdominals, deltoids (i.e. shoulders), even your legs
  • Builds strength in your upper body
    • see point above (minus the legs)
  • Helps keep our bones strongs
    • I know, when you think exercise, you think muscles but let me fill you in on a little something… exercise helps strengthen your bones and can even make them more dense.
    • Check out this article: Get Moving for Stronger Bones – it discusses how exercise can help build build bone density, especially important for women preventing or diagnosed with osteoporosis

How to join?

It’s easy – Click HERE if you have Facebook – it’s fun, and we support each other and hold one another accountable + you can join as many Challenges as you like.

If you don’t have Facebook, no problem! Here’s what you do…

Get a calendar or agenda (maybe both!), and mark May 15th as Day 1, May 16th as Day 2, etc.  along with the number of push-ups per day. Tell a friend, comment on this post, or send me an email so you can hold yourself accountable to your challenge and commitment to start a daily practice of exercising.

They say it takes 21 days to make a habit and 30 days to make it stick, so I’ve also given you Day 11-30 to do on your own.

How do I do a push-up anyway?

So now we know a little bit about the WHY behind this challenge and amazing exercise, let’s get into the HOW shall we…

There are lots of videos and articles about this – I incorporated a few because it takes you from ‘I can’t do a push up to save my life’ to ‘I’m doing it!’ – I’ve also included some sources below too:

You can skip to #4 if you’re already able to do a standard push-up.

Important!

  • FORM IS EVERYTHING, and will keep you safe and on the road to a strong and healthy body
  • and on that note… GO SLOW, and at your own pace. Practice makes progress, so be happy with wherever you’re at because you’re doing it!
  • ENGAGE your core muscles and focus on your squeezing your shoulder blades together as you do them. Repeat in your head ‘I AM STRONG’
  • It is ok if you feel a little discomfort (i.e. it’s hard, but don’t feel pain) BUT IF YOU FEEL PAIN – STOP slowly. If you’re not sure, STOP, or better yet, check in with your doctor or trainer or myself before you start. Listen to your body. #safetyfirst

1. Push-Up from Table Top (Level 1)

  • Go into Table Top position – on hands and knees
    • Wrists and Shoulders are stacked, meaning your shoulder is over your wrist with your arm straight (elbows should not be locked)
  • Bend your elbows and lower your upper body slowly to the ground, keeping your head up and back straight
    • Tip – look at the ground just ahead of you (not below) to keep your head up and alignment in check
  • When your nose reaches the floor, push your hands against the floor, engage your core and chest, and return to starting position.
    • Tip! Think of also squeezing your shoulder blades together

Once this gets easy for you, go to #2

What’s easy? You can do 3 sets of 10 comfortably.

2. Push-Up on Your Knees (Level 2)

  • Go into a modified plank position – From Table Top position, walk your hands out until your torso is straight behind you and your body is in a straight line from your knees to your shoulder.
    • Tip: If your knees are hurting, put a towel or mat beneath them
  • From straight arms, slowly bend your elbows and lower your chest to the floor, with your head lifted
    • Tip: Keep your core tight and think of squeezing your shoulder blades together – this is where your power is coming from (not shoulders).
  • Once you are parallel to the floor, push your hands into the floor, engage your chest and core and return to start position

If/When you feel ready for more, try the next variation.

3. Incline Push-Up (Level 3)

Before we get into the HOW, you’ll need a sturdy box, chair or other elevated surface for this one – you can even do this outside on an elevated surface (think park bench). The taller it is, the easier the movement will be (and vice versa)

  • Place your hands shoulder-width apart on the surface you’re on. Arms are straight (elbows are not locked)
  • Bend your elbows and lower your chest to the surface, squeezing your shoulder blades together
  • Once your chest hits the surface, push against the surface and return to original position.

You are on your way to do a standard push-up… so if/when you can do this with ease, let’s go to #4

4. Standard Push-Up (Level 4)

  • Go into the plank position with your arms straight, wrists and shoulders stacked (elbows not locked)
    • Tip! Walk your hands out a little wider to make it a bit easier (Wide Push-Up)
  • Bend your elbows and slowly lower your body, until your chest grazes the floor
    • Tip! Brace your core and keep your back flat, elbows pointing slightly back
  • Push your body back to the starting position

Once this gets easy for you, you can do other modifications to keep building up your strength and maintaining a healthy body.

The best part, if you’re ready to start today, go for it! Only you can make the change, but if you need support, like you’ve said for the last week, year, 5 years that you need to start moving or exercising but haven’t, now is the perfect opportunity.

Do yourself a favour and get proactive – don’t wait until the day that you have an injury, or something serious happens. Be good to your body, and it will be good to you 🙂

Here are some other sources for you…

Can’t do a Push-Up? Here’s Where to Start. by Alex Orlov

Push-Ups: The Simple Exercise That Can Banish Your Bulging Belly by Dr. Mercola

What Muscles Do Pushups Work? by Nicole Bowling

6 Push-Up Variations to Build Strength and Improve Shoulder Health by Anthony Yeung

 


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Natalia Edelmann

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