By Mary Ann Wilson, RN
The BICEPS – TRICEPS – AND PECTORALS (chest muscles) are probably the best known in the body, YET studies show that the upper body suffers the most neglect. Women are especially weak in upper body strength with an additional problem in the back of the upper arm.
The classic push-up, which uses the weight of your body for resistance, is one of the quickest ways to strengthen shoulders, arms and chest. But it is not an easy exercise. Many people are unable to do a single push-up. No matter how strong or weak you are, I have a push-up variation, I’ll bet you can do. I call it the World’s Easiest Push-up
World’s Easiest Push-up
If you would like to try this with me right now, get down on the floor.
• Make a fist and place them under shoulders.
• Take a deep breath in and out.
• Inhale as you lift – exhale as you lower.
• Use muscular control during both the lift and lowering phases.
• The number of repetitions and sets will depend on individual ability. Start with about 5 reps.
• Gradually work up to 10 push-ups for 2 or 3 sets.
A common mistake is trying to do too much, too soon. Progression should be gradual. It’s more important to be consistent with your exercise. Now stretch out the muscles you just strengthened with the three stretches below.
Clasp and Stretch
• Clasp hands behind back – gently pull shoulders back to your range of comfort and stretch chest muscles.
Yoga Grasp Arm
• Start with both arms at sides. Reach back with left hand – across back at waist level – and with fingers of left hand, grasp right arm at elbow level. Rotate right shoulder toward the back – opening up the front of the right shoulder and feeling the stretch there.
• Reach right arm up to ceiling. Reach right arm down to touch middle of back, as though reaching for zipper. With left hand, gently pull right elbow to left side, to your point of comfort.
• Keep chin up and press head gently back. Don’t let head fall forward. Repeat exercise on other arm.
In addition to quick and effective strengthening, adaptability is one of the push-ups advantages.
Try the world’s easiest push-up and let me know how it works for you!