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Pushups Exercise

Do You Make These Fatal Mistakes When Doing Your Pushups?

Copyright Mike Thiga

Do You Make These Fatal Mistakes When Doing Your Pushups?

Pushups are one of the most effective chest building bodyweight exercises. I’ve been doing them for well over a year now and I am not at all disappointed by the results. Whatever your muscle building goals are; whether you want that toned look or even a barrel-like “Rambo” type chest, pushups can definitely get you there. But one thing I’ve noticed with many people who start performing push ups is that they usually make one of three fatal mistakes which absolutely stops them from achieving good muscle gains.

I want to show you how to identify and avoid those three pitfalls. And from now on you are going to get astounding results—every single time you perform your pushups.

Pitfall #1 – Performing your push ups too fast
There are so many people out there who claim to be able to perform 50 pushups “easy”. And if you watch what they do, they simply rock themselves up and down bouncing their emaciated chests off the ground. Instead of using muscular force to get them through the push up workout, they simply use momentum to get through. BIG mistake. The faster you perform an exercise, the less muscle fibers get activated. Your muscles have to be under tension for a long enough period to stimulate them for growth. As a matter of fact, it’s MUCH more beneficial to do 20 slow reps than 50 fast reps. This is not an ego competition to see who can complete the most reps. The muscle is the message.

Solution: If you want to truly have the absolutely best muscle building workout every single time you train, take at least 2 seconds to complete each rep. That means 1 second up, 1 second down.

The average pushup performer takes about one second to complete each rep. And I’ll tell you right now…two seconds is a pretty long time when trying to do 50 pushups. You most likely won’t hit 50. And that’s a good thing. Because now you are going to perform fewer, higher quality reps rather than a bunch of lousy reps. And this will help you build muscle.

Pitfall #2 – Going too shallow
I know I’ve been guilty of this one in the past. The mistake is simply failing to go low enough and failing to extend high enough. When you perform any exercise with an extremely limited range of motion, your muscle flexibility decreases and you automatically minimize the amount of growth for the targeted muscle group.

Solution: Aim for the maximum range of motion with each rep, just make sure you don’t overdo it and get injured. In the case of the push up, as you lower yourself to the ground make sure your chest gets as close as possible to the floor, while ensuring that your whole body is as straight as possible. And when you come back up, extend yourself (using your arms) as high as possible, just before your arms lock in a straight position. This ensures that you perform each rep with the highest range of motion.

Pitfall #3 – Using the wrong push up variation
There exist several different push up variations. And each variation works a different muscle group. Some people actually target the wrong muscle group by performing the wrong push up variation. So I’ve taken the liberty to put down for you the most effective push up variations and the muscles they target:

  • Decline Pushups – If you want a gigantic Rambo-like chest, then this is what you need to start doing. For decline push ups, your feet are elevated off the ground (place them on a chair or something). The higher your feet are off the ground, the deeper your chest workout will be and the more muscle stimulation you’ll get. If you really want a massive chest, forget about the normal pushups and stick to these.
  • Close Hand Pushups (aka tricep pushups) – These are ideal for developing nicely cut triceps. The difference between close-hand pushups and the normal pushups is that in this case, your palms are put as closely together as possible. So when you perform each rep, your triceps do most of the work, not your chest.
  • Handstand Pushups – These are probably the most difficult, yet most rewarding if you want shoulders the size of Ronnie Coleman. Newbies should generally start off with incline pushups if they want shoulder definition. Handstand pushups are THE best shoulder exercises in existence. No question. It’s just that they’re “so damn hard!” ;-).  Anyway, to do them, get into a handstand position, then lower yourself down towards the floor until your head almost touches the ground. Then push yourself back up to the handstand position. Do this exercise near a wall so you can support yourself instead of falling all over the place. Start slowly, doing one or two a day. Then move to five, then seven…and before you know it, you’ll become a no-neck. (Yippee!!!)

Solution: (Well, we’ve actually just seen the solution to this one). And now that you know which push up variation works a particular group of muscle, don’t let me catch you dong something crazy like performing handstand pushups to build your calves..because believe me, I’ve seen people do the most absurd things…but that’s another story.

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About the Author:

Mike Thiga is a freelance writer and bodyweight training fanatic. Using nothing but bodyweight training exercises, he managed to pack on 39 lbs of muscle in just under 6 months. Get more information and your free muscle building report at his website: