Want to lose weight and get fit all at once? Don’t want to go to the gym or buy expensive equipment? You ARE your own machine when you do body weight exercises. Two of my favorite exercises that hit your entire upper body and core are the push up and pull up. These bodyweight miracle moves, the push up and the pull up can be a bit intimidating if you’ve never done them before.
The push up relies heavily on core strength and stability. So, the push up gives you a double whammy: improved upper body strength and a strong core. But in order to do a proper push up, you may have to start with core strengthening first. The best exercise for this is the plank. Work up to 30 seconds to one minute. Don’t let your back sag and don’t let your bum pop up. If you’re in the right position, you’ll feel your abs grab: that’s the sweet spot to hold.
Many people think that it’s the ‘push’ part of the push up that builds strength. It’s actually the slow lowering to the floor. The eccentric portion of the movement builds strength, so concentrate on that. Get into the high plank position any way you can, then slowly lower your body to the floor until your belly is touching. Rest as long as necessary and repeat. You’d be surprised at how effective this strength building strategy works.
A third strategy for the push up is to straddle your legs. Widen your base of support to modify the position before you drop to the knees for a further modification. Most try the push up from the toes, then go directly to the knees. This second stage of modification is helpful to increase your push up power.
The pull up may seem totally out of your capabilities at first. There are many progressions and exercises that you can use to help you with this impressive move, but one of the best is working from the top down, versus the bottom up. What I mean by this is, similar to the push up, you’ll get your chest up to the bar as best you can in any way (hop on a chair, jump up etc), then slowly lower your body from the bar until you get to a near full hang position. Again this works the muscles eccentrically and builds strength.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how this develops the muscles of the back, arms and even the core.
These moves are definitely ones that will be a ‘work in progress’. You can continually work at the to increase the quality and quantity and in the process you’ll lose fat and be getting fit!
For more tips and done for you workouts that will take you from zero to hero with push ups and pull ups, head over to my program, ChallengeWorkouts.com to see if it’s right for you.