The Modified push-up strengthens your chest muscles, with additional emphasis on your shoulders and triceps. Be extra careful if you have lower back, shoulder, elbow, or wrist problems.
Getting Set (A)
Lie on your stomach, bend your knees, and cross your ankles. Bend your elbows and place your palms on the floor a bit to the side and in front of your shoulders. Straighten your arms and lift your body so that you’re balanced on your palms and the part of your thighs just above your knees. Tuck your chin a few inches toward your chest so that your forehead faces the floor. Tighten your abdominals.
The Exercise (B)
Bend your elbows and lower your entire body at once. Rather than try to touch your chest to the floor, lower only until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Push back up.
Dos and Don’ts
• DO keep your abdominal muscles pulled in tight throughout the exercise so that your back doesn’t arch like a swayback horse; other-wise you’re begging for a lower back injury.
• DON’T lock your elbows at the top of the movement.
• DON’T do the dreaded head bob. That’s when you dip your head toward the floor without moving any other part of your body. Talk about a giant pain in the neck!
Wall Push-up (Easier): Stand a few feet away from a wall and place your palms flat on the wall slightly wider than your shoulders. Bend your elbows and lean into the wall. Then press yourself away from the wall by straightening your arms.
Military Push-up (Harder): Straighten your legs and balance on your toes; then follow the directions for the Modified Push-up.