With outside continuing to open back up... these past few months may have left you confined to your home where you're likely eating more and working out less. This could be a recipe for fitness failure. Fortunately, the most effective piece of equipment is already available to you for free—your body weight. Social distancing doesn’t mean you have to fall-off. You can still maintain, and even improve your fitness while doing your part to keep your distance. No need to over complicate things either. Keep reading and we’ll share how the classic push-up will help you keep those pounds off and strength up.

The push up is one of the first exercises we learn as kids and for good reason. The benefits of push-ups are seemingly endless. Doing push-ups activates all the body’s major muscle groups. From your core, biceps, triceps, and shoulders, to your chest, legs, back, and glutes—you’ll hit every key group with your push-ups. Along with that, your heart rate picks up as it pumps blood to these muscle groups, giving you a solid cardio exercise as well.

Push-ups can be modified to target various areas of the body. If you want a simple straight forward work out using the classic (military) push up. Keep your arms straight with hands below your shoulders. Your legs stay together as you lower and raise your body at a steady pace. This will hit all the previously mentioned muscle groups, primarily the chest, shoulders, and triceps. You’ll get a great burn in your core and back muscles too.

Want to focus more on your pecs/chest muscles? Set your arms wider apart. If you want to sculpt your triceps, try diamond push-ups. To perform these, put your hands together and point them inward so that your index fingers and thumbs touching to form a triangle (like throwing up the ROC sign). Keeping your elbows tight to your body, lower your chest toward the diamond. Depending on your balance comfort you can widen your legs to maintain form.

By using a chair you can elevate your legs to create an incline that adds more pressure to your shoulders on the press. Perhaps you like getting your legs involved in the act. Add some side knees to the routine. Lower your body as usual, but as you drop, bring one knee forward along your side, then return to your straight form as you raise back up. Alternate knees with each push-up. This picks up the level of cardio and core focus in your workout.

There are over a dozen different types of push-ups you can perform for various levels of impact. Find what works best for you and set a consistent program for yourself. Maybe, you do 100 push-ups daily or 50 every other day? There is a 100 push-ups challenge designed for all levels of fitness that works wonders in increasing strength and building muscle. It’s a personal favorite that I use often. You can check that out at www.hundredpushups.com. The human body’s ability to adapt is one of its greatest functions. Put it to work and push forward to a better you.

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