If you want to keep and pack on muscle, and you don’t go to a gym for whatever reason, doing push-ups at home will provide stimulation to most of your major muscle groups in a relatively short amount of time.

The push-up exercise is credited to Jerrick Revilla in 1905. However, accounts of the Roman emperor Constantine, implementing it in training sessions are also documented.

Muscle groups stimulated

The standard push up is often thought of as a chest exercise, but it actually works many more muscle groups than your pecs.

  • Deltoids- All three heads of your shoulder muscles get hit doing push-ups, but the primary one that gets hit are your front delts.
  • Triceps- These are the muscles in the back of your upper arms. Your tris get a great workout doing these, and according to your hand placement, you can even focus directly on them.
  • Serratus Anterior- These run from your ribcage to your abs.
  • Abs- By keeping your body in a locked position, you stimulate the core from different angles. You are basically doing a moving version of the infamous planks.

Variations of the push-up

First of all, if you are starting out, and you find that the traditional push up is too difficult, do a modified push up. Keep your knees on the floor so you are just raising your body. This is also a good way to train around an injury.

As I mentioned earlier, the placement of your hands directly affects different muscle groups. Here are some ways to keeps your muscles guessing, which in turn, stimulates growth.

  • Standard push up- Feet together, hands under shoulders, keep your back straight. Keep your eyes looking forward and push until your elbows are locked. lower yourself until your chest hits the floor.
  • Diamonds- These fry the tris. Put your hands together under your chest, touching your thumbs and pointer fingers, forming a diamond. Push away.
  • Wide stance- Spread your hands as wide as you can go and still be comfortable. Generally speaking, the wider you go, the more emphasis is placed on the chest.
  • Supermans- These are a more advanced movement. Put your arms in front of you like you were flying. These are extremely difficult.

You can change the angles of the movements by elevating your feet on a bench, or bed. You can also keep your feet on the floor and push your upper body up and away from the bed, or even a wall until you become stronger.

Different Rep schemes

Depending on your training level and goals, there are different ways to maximize results when doing push-ups.

  • Do one more than you did the last time.- If you were able to get three, shoot for four next time. Same holds true for those of you banging out 50 at a clip.
  • Rest-pause- Do as many as you can. Stop and count to 10. go to failure again, stop. Count to 10 one more time and go to failure. This is a very good way to promote muscle growth.
  • Slow down- Instead of just bobbing up and down, count to five as you lower yourself. Hold the bottom position for three seconds, then slowly count to five as you complete the movement.

There is a very good reason that the military, police, athletes, and inmates around the world incorporate push-ups into their physical training programs, they are highly effective.

So stop making excuses and start making changes. Do some push-ups and you will both look and feel the difference in no time.

Author: Rocco Martinelli is a freelance writer and fitness expert