I’ve got another installment of my exercise spotlight blog series! Hopefully these are useful to both fitness instructors wanting to spice up their class plans and those of you making up your own workouts at home. Today let’s focus on push ups. There are countless variations, but these are the three I’m loving lately.
Blast Off Push Ups
I got this one from a Facebook post by Men’s Health Magazine I saw a few weeks ago. I love it because the crouching position (think down dog with bent knees) opens the target muscle group (chest) in between push up reps. HOW TO DO IT | Start in a plank position with hands either a little wider than the shoulders (if you want to target the chest with your push up) or stacked under the rib cage in close to your body (if you want to target the triceps with your push up). I’m doing them in these pictures with my hands narrow (I think this way is harder!). From here, bend your knees and shoot your hips back, pressing into your hands so that you’re in a bent-knee down dog position (think of an animal crouching before leaping at prey … weird visual, but whatever, it works!). From here, you’re going to shoot forward back into plank and fluidly right down into your push up. As you press up to straight arms, bend those knees and shoot your booty back into that crouching position.
In the pictures, it looks like I’m stopping in plank before doing the push up, but this should be an explosive forward and down movement–you shoot right into and through plank, down to your push up.
Ankle Tap Push Ups
Arms & abs, baby!
HOW TO DO IT | Start in a plank position with hands either a little wider than the shoulders (if you want to target the chest with your push up) or stacked under the rib cage in close to your body (if you want to target the triceps with your push up). I’m doing them in these pictures with my hands wide. Do a push up. As you press back up to straight arms, shoot your hips up into the air, pressing into your left hand as you reach your right hand across your body to touch the left ankle. Bring the hand back to its starting position as you shift your body forward into plank and smoothly right down into your next push up. Next time you press up, reach the left hand across to the right ankle. Continue alternating side to side.
Marching Plank Push Ups with Crossbody Crunch
I did a variation of this on the megaformer in class the other week and it was a killer! This will target your obliques as well as upper body.
HOW TO DO IT | Start in a plank position, wrists stacked under shoulders. From here crunch your right knee into your left elbow (try to make physical contact if possible!). Step the right foot back to plank and then lower onto your right forearm (keep your left hand planted right where it is, bending into that left elbow so that you can lower). As soon as your right forearm hits the ground, push into the left hand to press back up to straight arms in your starting plank position. Try to keep your hips level as you do this marching plank. To achieve that, you’ve got to bend into the stationary arm (don’t keep your left arm straight as you lower onto the right forearm). Go right into your next cross body crunch. This will target the right oblique and left arm. Take it over to the other side to hit the left obliques and right arm.
Champion SmoothTec Bra
I got the chance to partner with Champion in putting together today’s fun workout outfit. I love the long racerback design and this particular SmoothTec bra is great for medium-impact workouts. I’ve bought several Champion bras throughout the years because the price is right, they last, and they have a wide variety of patterns. I need to break myself away from wearing black, black and more black, so I jumped at the chance to get this fun pink print.
More posts from this exercise spotlight series:
What are your favorite push up variations?
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Champion. The opinions and text are all mine.