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what is a push up?

Man doing push-ups

According to Wikipedia, a push-up (USA English), or a press-up (UK English), is "a common strength training exercise performed in a prone position, lying horizontal and face down, raising and lowering the body using the arms."

Push ups are a basic exercise used in civilian athletic training or physical education and, especially, in military physical training and will develop the pectoral muscles and triceps, with ancillary benefits to the deltoids, serratus anterior, coracobrachialis and the midsection as a whole.

Instructions for "good-form" push ups

Good-form Push Up

Lie prone on the ground with hands placed as wide or slightly wider than shoulder width. Keeping the body straight, lower body to the ground by bending arms at the elbows. Raise body up off the ground by extending the arms. Repeat.

Body weight should be lifted by the arms; don't be tempted to use your butt, stomach or the lower half of your body to pull yourself up. To maintain correct body alignment, imagine a straight line running from your head down to your ankles.

[Push up animation courtesy Blaine Moore: RunToWin.com]

Instructions for "alternative" push ups

Modified Push Up

So you've tried the "good-form" push ups, but can only manage one or two before exhaustion sets in.

Don't be despondent; several alternative options exist which will still enable you to follow the hundred push ups plan.

[Push up animation courtesy Blaine Moore: RunToWin.com]

Remember, the main aim of the hundred push ups program is to improve your strength, fitness and general health. It really doesn't matter what style of push up you perform as long as you continue to make progress and keep challenging yourself. Give the 6-week program a chance and I know you'll be amazed at your new found strength. Good luck!

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