Proper Push-Ups

istock-push-ups.jpgToday from Jules, because no doubt some post-holidays push-ups could do us all good:

“As busy mothers (synonymous words as far as I’m concerned), we tend to put ourselves on the back burner to care for the little ones. With two babies under the age of 18 months, I have had to sacrifice lots of me time. However, one thing I refuse to give up is my daily workout regimen. And on days where I only have 10 minutes to spare, I do push-ups. Push-ups are a weight bearing exercise that target multiple muscle groups and, when done correctly, can seriously tighten you up in no time.
When doing push-ups, use good form and focus on quality over quantity. You will see better results if you do 10 good push-ups than if you do 50 bad ones. If you’ve done your push-ups correctly you will feel sore in your chest, arms, and abs. Here's the how-to for doing proper push-ups.

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1. Lie chest-down with your hands at shoulder level, palms flat on the floor and slightly more than shoulder-width apart.

2. Keep your feet parallel; you can opt to position your feet shoulder-width distance apart, or for more of a challenge, I prefer to keep my feet together. Note that your back will want to arch so keep your abs tight and your body straight. Keep your legs straight and your toes tucked under your feet. (Note: beginners may wish to start with their knees on the ground as a modification; but still make sure that the line from your knees to the top of your head forms a straight line.)

3. Look ahead/forward rather than straight down at the floor, so you form a straight line from head to feet. (The first contact you make with the floor should be your chin, not your nose.)

4. Take a deep breath, then exhale as you straighten your arms and push your body up off the floor. Keep your palms fixed in the same position and keep your body straight. Try not to bend or arch your upper or lower back as you push up. Hold this position for one second.

5. Inhale as you lower your body slowly towards the floor by bending your arms and keeping your palms in the fixed position. Your chest should touch the floor. Don’t bend your back and keep your body straight and your head in line with your body.

6. Pause for a moment. Begin straightening your arms for a second push-up. Exhale as you raise your body. Use your breath (exhale as you push up, inhale as you come down) to help you through.

This is a detailed version of something you’ve likely seen done a million times, but it’s important to note the form elements as people often aren’t aware of proper positioning. I get lots of comments on my upper body physique and strength and though I often attribute it to toting two little ones around, push-ups are my secret weapon!”

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