Fall is here and it’s the perfect time to take stock of your fitness goals and give your fitness motivation a reboot before the holidays. Holiday feasts and fun will be here in no time, so now is our chance to lock-down healthy habits and stay active as we head into the holiday season and the end of the year. Build upper body strength and tone with the FREE 21-Day Fall Fitness Challenge: Push-Ups.
We kicked off the 21-Day Fall Fitness Challenge Series in September with the plank challenge. Next in the challenge series, we’re going to target the chest with the 21-Day Fall Fitness Challenge Series, Push-Ups.
Push-ups are one of those exercises that you either love or hate. Personally, I’m on the love push-ups team. Any variation, with equipment and without, I love the physical challenge and effectiveness of push-ups. Push-Ups with elevation and a balance component are my favorites. In fact, 4-Medicine Ball Push-Ups are my absolute favorite.
Benefits of Push-Ups
Push-ups are an efficient, no equipment needed, do anytime and anywhere and can be done at any fitness level.
Push-ups are an effective exercise that helps build stabilize the entire core region, and strengthens:
- chest (serratus anterior, pectoralis major and minor),
- abdominals (rectus and transversus abdominus),
- back (rhomboids, trapezius and erector spinae),
- shoulders (deltoids and rotator cuff),
- triceps (the back of the arm),
- quadriceps (front of your legs),
- and butt (gluteus maximus).
Push-ups engage all of these muscles with every movement. See what I mean about efficient!
Push-ups can be performed effectively in a variety of different levels with these 8 variations as you get stronger and your endurance increases.
Pike Push-Up (1) Start in a standard push-up position. (2) Walk your feet towards your hands, sticking your buttocks up in the air. This is a pike position. (3) From this position, lower your head and shoulders towards the ground by bending your elbows.
Push-Up (1) Lie face down with your legs straight out in behind you and your feet together. (2) Bend your elbows and place your palms on the floor put to the sides of your chest. Position your palms so they are directly under your elbows. When your arms are bent they should form a 90-degree angle. (3) Your neck should be straight and your eyes focused on the floor in front of you. (4) Keep your abs tight. (5) Straighten your arms so that your body is hovering over the floor, balancing on your palms and the balls of your feet. (6) Bend your elbows and lower your entire body until your upper arms are parallel with the floor. (7) Exhaling, push back up to the starting position.
Push-Up to Side Plank (1) Start off in a push up position on the floor with your toes extended out and arms at shoulder level. (2) Perform a push up and then come back up shifting your weight to one side of your body twisting to one side and bringing the arm on the twisted side up towards the ceiling. (3) Hold this position for a count then return back to the starting position for another push up alternating sides.
Spiderman Push-Up (1) Assume the standard push-up position. (2) As you lower your body toward the floor, lift your right foot off the floor, swing your right leg out sideways, and try to touch your knee to your left elbow. (3) Continue to alternate back and forth. Each pushup is a single rep.
Tricep Push-Up (1) Start in push-up position except keep your hands directly under your shoulders instead of outside your chest. Your legs should be straight behind you with feet slightly apart so you are balancing on your palms and the balls of your feet. (2) Keep your elbows pressed firmly against your torso as you slowly lower your body down into a push-up. Exhale, press back up to the starting position, and repeat.
Wide Arm Push-Up (1) Start from a normal pushup position with your hands wider than shoulder length. (2) Bend your elbows and lower your entire body at once until your arms forms a 90-degree angle. (3) Exhaling, push back up to the starting position.
Decline Push-Up (1) Place your feet on a box or bench and perform a push-up. Position your palms so they are directly under your elbows and brace your core. Your neck should be straight and your eyes focused on the floor in front of you. Keep your abs tight. (2) Inhale, bending your elbows and lowering your entire body until your upper arms are parallel with the floor. (7) Exhaling, push back up to the starting position.
THE 21-DAY PUSH-UP CHALLENGE
Every day for 21 days you will complete as many push-ups (at any level) to fatigue. You can do the same variation for the entire 21 days or try a few different variations as you get stronger.
HOW THE 21-DAY PUSH-UP CHALLENGE WORKS
- Download and print the push-up calendar below.
- On Day 1 establish your baseline. Do as many push-ups as you can (at any level you can: wall, knee, toes) with good form in 60 seconds. Record that number on your push-up calendar.
- Next, set a rep goal. You can set a specific number of reps to add each day, i.e. add at least 2 push-up each day to your previous day reps or you can set the total number of reps you want to complete in 21-days, divide that by 20 and set a rep goal for each day. Or both. Set yourself up for success!
- Record your reps on the daily push-up calendar so you can easily measure and review your progress.
- On Day 21 complete a final test. Do as many push-ups as you can (at any level you can: wall, knee, toes) with good form in 60 seconds. Record that number of your push-up calendar.
BE PROUD OF YOURSELF! You’re that much stronger than you were 21 days ago.
Remember, some days are better than others. Commit to the challenge for the next 21-days and you will notice that you can do more push-ups before you fatigue. This is a quick and easy way to measure your strength gains. You’ll be amazed when you see how you’ve improved in strength and endurance overall,
SHARE THE MOTIVATION REBOOT! FORWARD THIS CHALLENGE TO A FRIEND OR FAMILY MEMBER. IT MAKES IT EASIER TO STICK TO YOUR GOAL.
INJURY PREVENTION TIPS
- It’s essential that your spine stays level and that you activate your lower abs to protect your low back. If your back starts to arch, or your butt starts to dip, it’s time to call it a day.
- Make sure your wrists or elbows are directly under your shoulders to relieve any shoulder pressure.
- You should not feel any joint, back or shoulder pain during your planks. If you are, it’s probably related to your form. Have someone take a picture of you, or ask a personal trainer to review your form. Make sure everything is in a straight line.
- Remember to breathe. Holding your breath makes the exercise harder and focusing on your breath can actually improve your concentration and duration.
To get the most out of this challenge, supplement with 2-3 days of cardio:
- Superset Cardio & Strength Workout
- Elliptical HIIT Workout
- Super Sets Cardio & Strength 2
- Tone & Burn Treadmill Workout
Are you ready to build a healthier habit, improve your fitness and build a stronger body?
All you need is a little motivation, direction and structure to reach your goal.
In November and December there will be another new 21-day challenge to build healthier habits, improve fitness and build a stronger body.
be the best version of YOU,