This exercise is my favourite chest exercise. It mainly works out the chest muscles, also known as the pectoral muscles. Did you know that 90% of the time, the first part of the body that a person looks at when they see another person is the chest? Forget the phrase "your eyes are the windows to your soul." Your chest is the first and most direct channel into a person's head.
More often than not, the simplest exercises that require the least amount of money are the most effective ones. This exercise is one of the most overlooked exercises in bodybuilding.
The main muscle group targeted in this exercise is the chest. Although you would feel quite a lot of strain on your triceps when starting off, it also serves to train other smaller muscle groups that can improve your overall trunk region.
The most important thing to keep in mind is correct posture. While doing the exercise, your back must remain straight when lowering yourself towards the floor. That is the correct posture when doing push ups.
Ensure that your trunk (chest and stomach) is lined up with your legs when in the locked arm position. When lowering yourself to the floor, again, it is of utmost importance that you maintain the straight, horizontal position without arching your back in either in the upward or downward direction.
When starting out, the strain on your arms and chest might be very intense and you would be tempted to arch your back to relieve some of the ache on your arms and chest. However, you should not do that, as it will reduce the effectiveness of the exercise.
It is essential that you maintain the horizontal position throughout the exercise. If you do not have a training partner, carry out the exercise against a mirror and keep a lookout for your posture.
Although it may seem simple, there are many mistakes that will severely affect the effectiveness of this exercise if not carried out properly.
Firstly, the position of your arms and hand should be about shoulder width apart. There are variations of the push-up that uses different widths such as the diamond push up, but we will concentrate on the basic form of the push up for now.
Secondly, lower yourself until your chest is close to the floor, or nearly touching the floor. A good gauge would be the point where your elbows are bent at a 90-degree position with your body still straight. This position effectively targets the chest muscles without having to place too much strain on your back and arm muscles.
Thirdly, you have to exhale when exerting strength, inhale when releasing the strain. This is a fundamental principle when doing any form of exercise. Applying this to the exercise, exhale when pushing yourself back up to the original/resting position and inhale when lowering yourself down to the floor.
It may seem counter intuitive when starting off and many individuals new to working out can often be seen holding their breath when carrying out any exercise, resulting in them tiring out very quickly and turning blue after a few sets. Proper breathing technique is key to maintaining strength and stamina as your muscles need oxygen to remove lactic acid build up.
Fourthly, aim to do the pushing (from the floor up) in as fast a time possible and release the load slowly (lowering yourself). As a guideline, the time taken to lower yourself must at least be twice that of the time taken to push yourself up.
Specially for The Skinny Guy
If you are actually doing the push-up correctly, it might actually result in muscle fatigue, meaning that you would have absolutely no strength to push yourself up within 20 to 25 repetitions in the first set. Do not be alarmed as it is all right to do just 20 to 25 reps when you are just starting off.
Skinny guys need additional sets and more stress on the muscle in order to trigger the response by the body to build more muscle. Hence, this is where things become harder and more complicated. As a skinny guy, you absolutely have to do another set, even if it means complete muscle fatigue and you are unable to even hold a pencil properly after the exercise.
The main purpose is to place additional stress on your muscles.
If you have reached muscle fatigue in the first set, commencing the second set, you would not be able to achieve the same results.
1st set: 25 repetitions until fatigue.
2nd set: Ideally you should aim to achieve 25 repetitions, but muscle fatigue will occur around the19th or 20th repetition.
3rd set: The number of repetitions that you are able to do will continue to decrease.
If you are not experiencing muscle fatigue, it is either that you are not doing the exercise correctly or you have not pushed your muscles hard enough until the point of muscle fatigue.
There is no secret to making bodybuilding for skinny guys easier because you are not naturally blessed with much muscle building genes. It becomes a mental game after the first set that you've accomplished and truthfully, you really do not know when your muscles will give way until you have pushed it far enough.
Just remember, the real stress that starts the muscle building process occurs only when you are struggling to complete a repetition. At this point, will power to keep on pushing is what matters the most. Keeping your goal in mind, you must push yourself to your limits and then only will you see results. Additionally, having a training partner would definitely be helpful to push you beyond your limits.
Bodybuilding for skinny guys requires an extra amount of will power and mental strength. While we as skinny guys naturally lack the physical strength, we make up for in mental strength.