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How to Do a Push-Up for a Boot Camp Workout

Learn how to do a push up as part of a boot camp workout for women from personal trainer Rachel Buschert Vaziralli in this Howcast workout video.


I'm going to talk you through one of my favorite exercises - the push-up. Push-ups are great because you don't need any equipment. You can do them anywhere. There's a couple of different variations of doing a push-up, and I'm going to give you some key tips to look out for so you can do them most efficiently, most effectively.

Let's come on down. You can do a modified push-up which would be on the knees. I've heard some people call these girl push-ups. There's really no such thing as a girl push-up because guys can do these too. It just depends on whether you need to modify the push-up or not. They are just variations of each other.

I'm going to start with the modified push-up. Your hands are probably going to be about shoulder width apart. Just find something comfortable. The biggest mistakes people make here are to internally rotate the hands and potentially put a lot of strain on the shoulder. You want to just get that shoulder into a nice neutral position.

You want to watch out that your butt is not back here. It's not wrong to do a push-up here. This is just a very modified version. You're taking away a lot of the weight from the upper body. The purpose is to bring the weight into the upper body. That's what you're working against to make you stronger.

You're going to inhale as you go down, just bending at the elbow, and then exhale like you're blowing the floor away. Inhale to come down, exhale like you're blowing the floor away. If you wanted to make it harder, you would take it off of the knees. Same thing, bending the elbows, exhale, drawing the abdominals in, and coming up. The wider your legs are here the easier it's going to be to balance. If you want to challenge the stability, you could move the legs in. Starting with the knees, and maybe even doing a one knee push up. That would be kind of intermediate, something between the modified and the full push-up if you're not ready to go immediately from one to the other.

When you're in the push-up, let's start with the head, making sure that your head is not dropping. Sometimes we think we're going further down or not, just our head is. Keeping your head in line so the cervical spine doesn't take any stress, and then the rest of your back too. You want to make sure you're not leading with your hips and breaking. This means that you're not really properly engaging your core. Engage your core. Draw the belly muscles in. Keep your head in line. Inhale to take it down, exhale to come up.

There's your push-up, targeting all the major muscle groups of the upper body, mostly the pecks, the chest muscles, the anterior delts, the front of your shoulder, and as you go through elbow flexion and extension, you're working your triceps.

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