Add a twist to traditional push-ups to involve more muscles.
Love ’em or hate ’em, push-ups are one of the best all-around exercises for building upper-body strength. They effectively work multiple muscle groups – chest, biceps, triceps and shoulders – all in one move. Plus, they can be done virtually anywhere, no weight machine required!
Once you’ve mastered the basic move, you can try variations to involve different muscles and intensify the challenge – for example, the Stability Ball Push-Up, which places you on an unstable surface. To maintain your balance, you must use many small stabilizing muscles that aren’t activated when using most weight machines.
“Not only do you work your abs more, you increase the challenge on your legs (which are now wobbly) as well as your arms as you try to keep yourself from falling off to the side,” notes Zenergy Trainer Emily Knowles.
Emily demonstates the move in the photo above. Be sure to keep your abs pulled in tight throughout the entire exercise. Aim for 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions.
STABILITY BALL PUSH-UP
Start by kneeling in front of a stability ball. Lean foward to place upper body onto the ball; slowly walk hands forward into plank position, with lower legs (easier) or feet (harder) on top of the ball. Hands should be slightly wider than shoulder width. Keeping abs in tight, legs straight, neck in line with spine and hips square to the floor, bend arms and lower chest toward the floor. Straighten arms to push back up to plank position. Strengthens your chest, shoulders, arms (biceps and triceps), core and legs as stabilizers.