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Pushups - Modified Pushups

One of the most common chest exercises is the pushup. The pushup is an excellent way to work the
chest without equipment. It's also a favorite because it's a compound movement that involves multiple
muscles and joints. That means it doesn't just work the chest, it also involves the arms, shoulders,
core and les. This modified version, on the knees, ives the back and upper body extra support. If
you're a beinner or don't have as much upper body strenth, this is a ood move to start with.
1. Start on all fours with hands a bit wider than the shoulders.
2. Walk the knees back a bit in order to lean your weight on the hands and fatten the back from
the head down to the back of the knees.
3. Pull the abs in and, keeping back straight, bend the elbows and lower body toward the foor
until elbows are at !"degree angles.
#. Push back up and repeat for 1 to 3 sets of 1! to 1$ reps.
Tips
• %on&t lead with your chin. 'eep your head down so that your neck is in alignment with the rest
of your body throughout the mo(ement.
• )(oid sticking the rear up in the air in order to make the e*ercise easier.
Pushups on the Ball
!n exercise ball can add a different element to traditional pushups, makin them easier or harder,
dependin on where you position it. This version is shown with the feet propped on the ball, which is a
more advanced pushup. "ou can make this move easier by movin the ball up #so that the shins or
thihs are restin on the ball$.
1. 'neel on the foor with the ball in front of you and roll forward on it, walking the hands out to
where you can comfortably support your body with the abs in, shoulders retracted and the body
in a straight line.
2. Place the hands a bit wider than shoulders and check to make sure you&re not sagging in the
middle. +f you are, try rolling back a bit for more support.
3. ,end the elbows and lower down until your elbows are at about ! degrees.
#. Press back to start and repeat for 1 to 3 sets of 1! to 1$ reps.
Tips
• %on&t lead with your chin. 'eep your head down so that your neck is in alignment with the rest
of your body throughout the mo(ement.
• -eposition the ball as needed to gi(e yourself more support. 'eeping the ball under the hips or
upper thighs will pro(ide the most support for the body.
• 'eep the body in a straight line. %on&t sag in the middle, and don&t let your shoulder blades
ride up. .our upper back should be fat.
• /o modify, try this mo(e on your knees or on your toes.
Pushups
Paige Waehner
%or workin the chest muscles as well as the arms and core, there's nothin like a ood old&fashioned
pushup. This traditional version is a reat way to work the upper body without equipment.
1. 0et down on the hands and knees, positioning the hands a bit wider than the shoulders.
2. Push the knees up so that you&re resting on the hands and toes. 'eep the abs engaged and
make sure your body is in a straight line from the head to the heels.
3. ,end the elbows and lower into a pushup until your elbows are at about ! degrees.
#. Press back to start and repeat for 1 to 3 sets of 1! to 1$ reps.
Tips
• %on&t lead with your chin. 'eep your head down so that your neck is in alignment with the rest
of your body throughout the mo(ement.
• )(oid sagging in the middle. +f do, take one or both knees down to the foor to gi(e the back
more support. Strengthening the core can help pro(ide more stability.
• /o modify, try this mo(e on your knees.
Pushup with a Medicine Ball
The nice thin about pushups, besides all the muscles they work, is that there are so many variations
that you can always find a version that works for you. This exercise is reat for the upper body, but
it's also reat for the core. 'levatin one hand on a medicine ball adds a new challene, and rollin
the ball from hand to hand enaes the abs and adds a dynamic element you don't often et with
traditional pushups.
1. 0et into pushup position on the knees 1easier2 or the toes 1more di3cult2. 4ake sure the body
is in a straight line with the abs in and the back straight.
2. Place one hand on a medicine ball and keep the other on the foor. 0et your balance and lower
into a pushup.
3. Push back up and roll the ball across the foor to the other hand and lower into a pushup.
#. 5ontinue rolling the ball back and forth for each pushup for 1 to 3 sets of 1! to 1$ reps.
Tips
• .ou can often 6nd soft medicine balls which make this mo(e a bit easier.
• 'eep the body in alignment. ,y ele(ating one hand, you may not ha(e the same range of
motion, so only lower as far as you comfortably can.
• 'eep the body in a straight line. %on&t sag in the middle, and don&t let your shoulder blades
ride up. .our upper back should be fat.
Barbell Bench Press
The bench press is another reat standard move for the lare muscles of the chest. The shoulders and
triceps are also involved in this exercise, makin this a compound movement. %or a variation, try this
on an incline bench, which will taret the upper part of the chest.
1. 7ie down on a bench, step or the foor. ,egin with the barbell ho(ering 8ust o(er the chest,
elbows bent. Place the hands on the bar a bit wider than the shoulders.
2. 5ontract the chest and push the weight straight up o(er the chest without locking the elbows
at the top.
3. ,end the elbows and lower the weight down until the elbows are 8ust below the le(el of the
chest.
#. -epeat for 1 to 3 sets of 9 to 1$ reps.
Tips
• 'eep the abs contracted throughout the mo(ement to protect your back.
• 'eep the motion slow and controlled "" try not to use momentum.
Dumbbell Chest Press
Paige Waehner
(oin a chest press with dumbbells instead of a barbell can add a different element to your chest
exercises, since both arms now have to work independently from one another. This is reat for
workin both sides of the body, and the dumbbell chest press makes a nice complement to the barbell
exercise.
1. 7ie down on a bench or step and begin with the weights in each hand straight up o(er the
chest, palms facing out.
2. ,end the elbows and lower the arms down until the elbows are 8ust below the chest 1arms
should look like goal posts2.
3. Press the weights back up without locking the elbows and bring them close together.
#. -epeat for 1 to 3 sets of 9 to 1$ reps.
Tips
• 'eep the abs contracted throughout the mo(ement to protect your back.
• 'eep the motion slow and controlled and try not to use momentum.
Chest Press with Resistance Bands
)sin a resistance band is a reat way to taret the chest in a different way and chane thins up
when the usual exercises et a little dull. The band can actually make this exercise feel touher, but
you always have control over the level of tension by movin closer or further away from the center of
the band.
1. Wrap the band around something stable behind you and hold handles in both hands so that the
bands run along the inside of the arms.
2. Position yourself far enough away 1either sitting or standing2 so that you ha(e tension on the
bands.
3. ,egin the mo(ement with the arms bent, palms facing down.
#. S:uee;e chest and press arms out in front of you, keeping the band stable. %o not lock the
elbows.
<. -epeat for 1 to 3 sets of 9 to 1$ reps.
Tips
• %on&t let the elbows go too far back as you bring the arms in. /his could strain the shoulders,
and you want to keep all the work in the chest.
• 'eep the motion slow and controlled "" try not to use momentum.
• )d8ust your position or loop the bands around your hands if you need more tension.
Chest Fly with Dumbbells
The chest fly is another way to work the major muscles of the chest with a focus on the outer part of
the chest. %lies make a nice complement to both chest presses and pushups because those moves are
compound* the fly is an isolation movement. "ou'll most likely need to use a lihter weiht for flies,
and you should take care when lowerin the arms down to avoid hurtin the shoulders or losin
control of the weihts.
1. 7ie on the foor, bench or step. =old weights o(er the chest with the palms facing each other.
2. 'eeping the elbows slightly bent, lower the arms out to the sides and down until they&re le(el
with the chest.
3. 'eep the elbows in a 6*ed position and a(oid lowering the weights too low.
#. S:uee;e chest to bring the arms back up as though you&re hugging a tree.
<. -epeat for 1 to 3 sets of 9 to 1$ reps.
Tips
%o this e*ercise on a ball to add a balance challenge.
Chest Squeeze with a Medicine Ball
Paige Waehner
The chest squee+e is a subtle move and more of an isometric exercise that works the chest and
shoulder muscles. ,hile this isn't the most intense exercise, it's a reat way to warm up the chest
before other exercises. Or, you can add this move on at the end of your chest work to et a little extra
fatiue in the muscle.
1. Sit up straight on ball or chair, back straight and abs in.
2. =old a medicine ball at chest le(el and s:uee;e the ball to contract the chest.
3. While continuing to s:uee;e the ball, slowly straighten the arms, taking the ball straight out in
front of you until the arms are straight.
#. 'eep steady pressure on the ball throughout the mo(ement.
<. ,ring the ball back towards the chest and repeat for 1"3 sets of 1!"1$ reps.
Chest Press with Dumbbells - lternatin!
This interestin variation of the traditional dumbbell chest press is more challenin than it looks,
especially if you do it on an exercise ball. -y alternatin the arms, you add a new dynamic to the
move where you have to enae your core to keep the body stable. ,hen doin this version, you may
need to o lihter on the weihts. "ou miht also want to try it on a bench or floor before movin on
to an exercise ball.
1. 7ie down on a bench, step, ball or the foor. ,egin with the weights in each hand straight up
o(er the chest, palms face out.
2. 'eep the left arm in place while bending the right elbow and lowering the arm down until it&s at
or 8ust below the chest 1the arm should look like a goal post2.
3. Press the arm back up without locking the elbow, then immediately repeat the mo(e on the left
arm while keeping the right arm in place.
#. 5ontinue alternating sides, engaging the abs to keep the torso from mo(ing.
<. -epeat for 1 to 3 sets of 9 to 1$ reps on each arm.
Tips
• 'eep the abs contracted throughout the mo(ement to protect your back.
• 'eep the motion slow and controlled "" try not to use momentum.
Bac" #$ercises
These exercises show basic moves taretin the muscles of the back includin the latissimus dorsi
#the lare muscles on either side of the back$, the upper back muscles #rhomboids and trape+ius
muscles$ and the lower back #erector spinae$. It's important to work all areas of the back when
strenth trainin, so try choosin a variety of exercises to taret the upper, mid and lower back areas.
.lick on the pictures and hyperlinks to view detailed instructions or to see a larer picture. To work
these exercises into a routine/
• Beginners> 5hoose 1"2 e*ercises, 1"2 sets of 12"1$ reps
• Inter/Adv>> 5hoose one or more e*ercises from each column for 2"3 sets of 9"12 reps, resting
between sets
• ?se enough weight or resistance that you can @A7. complete the desired number of reps
Rows Pullovers and Flies Lower Back Exercises
%umbbell -ows %umbbell Pullo(ers ,ack B*tensions

%umbbell -ows With ,and

,arbell Pullo(ers

,ack B*tension on the ,all

@ne")rmed -ow

Pullo(ers wC %umbbells and ,ands

BOSU Back Extension

@ne")rmed -ow with /wist

-e(erse Dly -e(erse =yper"B*tension on the
,all
@ne")rmed -ow on @ne 7eg /"Pulls 0ood 4ornings

)lternating %umbbell -ow ."Pulls ,ird %og
Seated -ows wC -esistance ,and

?pper ,ack S:uee;es

,ridge

,arbell -ows



=ori;ontal -ows


,arbell =igh -ow


7at Pull with ,and
Straight )rm Pull


,ent @(er -ow with ,ands


=igh -ow With ,ands


Power Plank with -ow


Shoulder #$ercises
The followin exercises show examples of moves taretin the shoulders && the front, middle and rear
deltoids as well as the rotator cuff muscles. .hoose a variety of exercises to taret each part of the
shoulders for a well&rounded routine. .lick on the pictures and links to view detailed instructions or
to see a larer picture. To work these exercises into a routine/
• Beginners> 5hoose 1 to 2 e*ercises, 1 to 2 sets of 12 to 1$ reps
• Inter/Adv> 5hoose an e*ercise from each column for 2 to 3 sets of 9 to 12 reps, resting
between sets
• ?se enough weight that you can @A7. complete the desired number of reps
Overhead Presses
Overhead presses work the
major muscles of the
shoulder, with a focus on the
middle deltoid and tricep. To
do a basic overhead press,
stand #or sit$ holdin weihts
with elbows bent and hands at
eye level. 0ush weiht over
head without archin the back
and lower back to start.
Front, Side, Rear Raises
%ront, side and rear raises
taret each part of of the
shoulders as well as the upper
back. ,hen doin shoulder
raises, only lift the weiht up to
shoulder level. ,hen doin rear
flies, lead with the side of the
hand and imaine you're makin
a smiley face as you lift the
arms up.
Rotations/Upright Rows
1houlder rotations work the
rotator cuff and usually require
smaller rane of motion and liht
weiht to avoid injury. )priht
rows work the middle deltoid as
well as the upper back and bicep
muscles. If you have shoulder
problems, you may want to avoid
these exercises.
@(erhead Press Dront -aise B*ternal -otation
@(erhead Press with
%umbbells
7ateral -aise +nternal -otation
)rnold Press

-ear 7ateral -aise

?pright -ows
#$ercises for %our Biceps
The followin exercises show examples of moves that taret the biceps muscles. The most common
biceps exercises include the basic biceps curl, but there are a number of variations that allow you to
work your biceps in different ways. .lick on the pictures and hyperlinks to view detailed instructions
or to see a larer picture.
To work these exercises into a routine/
• Beginners> 5hoose 1 to 2 e*ercises, 1 to 2 sets of 12 to 1$ reps
• Inter/Adv> 5hoose an e*ercise from each column for 2 to 3 sets of 9 to 12 reps, resting
between sets
)se enouh weiht that you can only complete the desired number of reps.
Biceps Curls
The biceps curl is the most
common exercise for the biceps.
To perform a basic curl, hold
weihts with palms facin out,
elbows next to the body. -end
the elbows and curl the weihts
toward the shoulders without
movin the elbows. 2ower and
repeat.
oncentration and Preacher
urls
The concentration curl and the
preacher curl are variations on
traditional curls. -y placin your
arms at an anle, you'll work the
biceps in a different way and add
new level of intensity to the
exercise.
Hammer Curls
3ammer curls are similar to
reular curls, except the palms
face in, which involves a bit more
forearm than traditional curls.
Turnin the hands makes this
move challenin* you may need
lihter weihts.
Variations:
,arbell 5urls
Variations:
5oncentration 5urls
Variations:
=ammer 5urls

%umbbell 5urls

+ncline ,icep 5urls =ammer 5urls " @ne 7eg

5ross",ody 5url with ,ands

Preacher 5urls
#$ercises for %our &riceps
The followin exercises show examples of exercises that taret the triceps, the muscles on the back of
the arms. The most common triceps exercises involve straihtenin the arms to enae the triceps as
in kickbacks, extensions and dips. There are also some exercises that are more eEecti(e than
others which can help you in choosin your exercises. .lick on the pictures and hyperlinks to view
detailed instructions or to see a larer picture. To work these exercises into a routine/
• Beginners> 5hoose 1"2 e*ercises, 1"2 sets of 12"1$ reps
• Inter/Adv> 5hoose an e*ercise from each column for 2"3 sets of 9"12 reps, resting between
sets
• ?se enough weight that you can @A7. complete the desired number of reps
Extensions Presses Dips/ Pushups
Tricep ic!"ac!s

Close #rip Bench Presses

Dips
ic!"ac!s $!ull Crushers Triangle Pushup
ic!"ac! on %ne &eg Band Pushdowns

%ne'Arm Triceps Pushups
Triceps Extensions

Bar Pushdo(n Triceps Pushups
%ne'Arm Triceps Extensions


Triceps Extension (ith )edicine
Ball


Triceps Extensions (ith Bands


*ront +aise (ith Triceps
Extension
#$ercises for %our Butt' (ips and &hi!hs
The followin exercises show examples of moves taretin the butt, hips and thighs, includin the
lutes, quads, hamstrins and inner and outer thihs. 4any of the exercises featured are compound
movements, involvin multiple muscle roups that allow you to work the lower body in a functional
and dynamic way. To work these exercises into a routine/
• Beginners> 5hoose 1 to 2 e*ercises for 1 to 2 sets of 12 to 1$ reps, using light weights or
none at all.
• Inter/Adv> 5hoose an e*ercise from each column for 2 to 3 sets of 9 to 12 reps, resting
between sets and using enough weight that you can @A7. complete the desired number of reps.
#lutes , %uter Thighs
1quats are one of the best
exercises for the lutes and
thihs. 2e lifts also taret the
lutes, the prime movers in outer&
thih exercises.
%verall #lutes- .uads ,
Thighs
These exercises #lunes, step ups
and presses$ are compound
moves, taretin most of the
muscles in the lower body.
Hamstrings , #lutes
(eadlifts, hip lifts and hamstrin
rolls are just a few exercises that
taret the back of the thihs as
well as the lutes.
Variations:
S:uats

Variations:
Static 7unges

Variations:
%eadlifts

,all S:uats Split S:uats @ne"7egged %eadlift
Wide"7eg S:uats Step"?ps

=amstring -olls
=ip B*tensions @ne"7eg Press =ip 7ifts
@uter /high +nner"/high S:uee;e