Monthly Challenge Time!!
For this month’s challenge we are going to work on improving our upper body and core strength by working on push ups. But don’t worry!!! You don’t have to be able to do any push ups at all right now to be able to take part. You don’t even have to be able to get down on the floor right now to be able to take part. Absolutely anyone can take part in this challenge, as long as you are willing to try.
Push ups aren’t just a chest and shoulder exercise, they actually work a lot more of your body too.
Obviously the main muscles they are working are your shoulders, and chest. But when performing a push up you also engage, your triceps (the muscle down the back of your upper arm), the abdominal muscles (when holding that nice straight back), core muscles in your tummy, glutes (buttocks) and ham strings (backs of the thighs).
By working your chest or pectoral muscles, you will improve the appearance of your bust (ladies obviously) giving you a little lift, and who doesn’t want one of those! For guys, you will build your pecs, improving the appearance of your chest, shoulders and arms.
Push ups are a really versatile exercise, and aren’t just for big muscle bound, gym goers. They can be modified for beginners right the way through the spectrum to the most advanced, strong athletes. You can vary the spacing between your hands to slightly change the muscles worked and make them more challenging. You can elevate your feet, to challenge even the strongest of people.
For the very beginner, you can use a wall to start your push up training right the way through to one legged push ups for Mr Universe!
Inspired by all the posts we are seeing on social media of the push up challenge for mental health awareness, our very own PM Boris Johnson, and after catching an episode of Loose Women, the other day and Saira Khan showing us exactly what she is made of, I challenge us all to just get a little bit better at this quick and beneficial exercise.
So who’s with me and ready to improve their push up prowess for the month of July?
This is a daily challenge, that will get more challenging as the month progresses, and in doing so will improve our strength.
Pick the level that you can comfortably perform at, here is a quick tutorial of the different variations of push up for you to try out.
Our aim is to progress up through the variations, and get stronger. If one day, you can’t do the full set of reps, repeat it daily (except for rest days) then move on when you can.
Each day, you perform the number of push ups stated. If the day says you should perform ‘@level up‘, you perform the exercise that is one level above your start point. If the day says ‘@ 2 up‘, you perform the exercise that is 2 levels above your start point.
e.g. On day 10 (15 + 5 @ level up) you perform 15 push ups at your starting level AND 5 more at the level above your starting point. So if you started at counter top push ups, on Day 10 you would do 15 counter top push ups, then 5 close knee push ups.
e.g. On day 22 (15 @ level up + 3 @ 2 up) you perform 15 push ups at the level above your starting point AND 3 push ups two levels above your starting point. So, if you started at counter top push ups, on Day 22 you would do 15 close knee push up and 3 extended knee push ups.
Choose your start level:
- Wall push ups
- Counter top push ups
- Close knee push ups
- Extended knee push ups
- Full push up feet wide
- Full push up feet together
- Full push up feet stacked one on top of the other
- Full push up one foot in the air
- Explosive push up
- Explosive push up one clap
- Explosive push up two claps
It’s really important to use good form when performing push ups at whatever level you are at, so here’s our top tips on good form.
- Always keep your back nice and straight, and your shoulders and hips square to the floor
- Don’t round your shoulders or let your back sag
- Keep your weight in a straight line through your palms and shoulders. This will mean your arms are perpendicular and your shoulders parallel to the surface that you are working on
- Bend your elbows and lower your entire body to the floor – until your chest, chin or nose touches the floor (whichever gets there first!) then push back up until your arms are fully extended again
We would love to hear how far you get with this challenge in the comments, and why not post some videos or photos of you doing your best on here or on our private Facebook group!!