While there are many variations, some more fashionable than functional, the classic example can be done anywhere, anytime. A seemingly simple movement requiring no equipment, it’s a demonstration of ones control against their own body weight.
Recent studies among school ages children show a decline in push up scores. These poor scores are compounded by the fact that physical education in schools are being cut back. and sedentary children are growing into obese young adults. As obesity rates soar the ability to control and resist the weight of our own bodies becomes increasingly challenging, and many people cannot do a proper push up.
Push ups are an excellent expression of total body strength initially, and the ultimate demonstration of muscular endurance for those who can do many. They engage muscles of the chest, shoulders, triceps, abdomen, quads, and glutes.
It’s an important movement in the 7 exercise Functional Movement Screening (FMS), an injury prevention assessment popularized by famed physical therapist, Gray Cook. Its used in physical therapy and personal training settings to assess injury prevention. The ability to apply an upper body force while maintaining stability in the shoulders and spine is a strong indicator of long-term join and muscular health.
To see how you measure up to national standards, try this test.
Sedentary lifestyles coupled with aging cause muscles to atrophy and weaken. As much as 30% of one’s muscle mass is lost between the ages of 20-70. Frequent resistance training with movement like the push up, can slow the effects aging has on muscular health. Famed exercise enthusiast Jack Lalanne, 93, incorporates a push routine into his daily regimen.
Visit Dan’s blog, Train Daly, for more fitness and exercise tips.