We don’t use our pushing muscles as much as our pulling muscles and the muscles we use for pushing (when left unused) get untoned and flabby. The two primary muscle groups we use for pushing with our upper body is our chest and tricep muscles. The two spots we tend to begin to sag is the back of our arms (triceps) and our chest (pectoral) muscles.
Push-ups will exercise muscle groups (or parts of muscle groups) that are often passed over if someone does not exercise regularly. Push-ups when doing the full range of motion will help activate the muscle fibers of these particular muscle groups.
I believe a lot of the back problems we have comes from us doing way more pulling then we do pushing (in our activities of daily living) and this creates muscle imbalances. A good way to know if your pushing muscles are conditioned is to see if the back of your upper arm is flabby or toned.
Why the push-up works so well: we don’t use our pushing muscles as much as our pulling muscles and the muscles we use for pushing (when left unused) get untoned and flabby. The two primary muscle groups we use for pushing with our upper body is our chest and tricep muscles and the two spots we tend to begin to sag is the back of our arms (triceps) and our chest (pectoral) muscles.
The 2nd reason: it gets us into a similar position as the plank and engages our core, back and neck muscles in a static contraction as we’re actively working our chest, shoulders, and triceps muscle groups throughout the pushup movement.
So not only is this working the entire chest area, shoulders, and back of the arms, it is also shaping and strengthening our midsection, back and neck muscles.
Different forms of push-ups:
1. The standard push-up where the only continuous contact with the floor is our hands and our toes/toe balls.
2. If the standard push-up is too hard, do the push-up where the knees are used as a secondary contact point with the toes.
3. If getting on the floor is to difficult or not practical, simply lean at a slant against something such as a table or railing. Lean into it, then push yourself back in much the same way as a regular push-up.
To increase resistance, “increase speed of movement or put a small stack of books under each hand when doing the regular floor push-up to increase the stretch, resistance and distance of the movement.”
“The push-up strengthens the muscles that help lift us up off the floor and the squat strengthens muscles that help keep us from hitting on the floor” 😉