What part of the body do push ups improve the most?

XciteMe

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 21, 2009
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Santa Monica, CA
I'm trying to get a firmer/more tight chest. Are p'ups good for that???

Also, what's better to flatten/tighten your midsection - Cardio (running) or sit ups???????

I don't know how to do crunches.
 

iOrlando

macrumors 68000
Jul 20, 2008
1,813
1
yep...its among the best things you can do for your chest. it also works arms and can actually work the abs (to a lesser degree). Its an all-around easy, cheap exercise for your body.

start off sets of 15ish. (sounded like you are new to this) or however many you can do. then increase the number of sets and reps per set.

once you get good at them..you start doing them while your feet are lifted on a chair.etc..

you would want to try to mix this in with other weight training for a balanced workout.


cardio is required to get the abs. Your diet is also important. Your goal should be to remove the fat that is located in front of your ab muscles. Running/biking are good. Swimming is also good. If these arn't possible, even walking or alot of sports etc..

best workout for abs would be different forms of crunches. you can just google top crunch exercises for a set of 10 easy to replicate at home ab exercises.

If you can do cardio workouts for maybe 8 weeks and watch what you eat..you should definitely see some results.

I suggest to stay away from cheese, sugar, and anything fried. Basically, if you stay away from those three groups..you should be golden. (natural sugar in fruit is good).

oh and liquor...yeah...i stay away from that for the most part. It just makes it so much harder to really keep the 6-pack. (harder = more time exercising)
 

Maccin475

macrumors member
Sep 27, 2009
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0
There are multiple ways of doing a pushup (closed grip(by grip i mean the placement of your hands), triangle, wide etc.), I'm guessing you're talking about a basic pushup. Pushup is a compund exercise, ie, they work multiple muscle groups, chest and triceps being the two major muscle groups worked by a pushup. Also do some dips and pullups.

Try doing planks (front and side) for a stronger core (Pushup position, maintain balance for a bout a minute).

Also, Youtube has a lot of demonstration videos up for various exercises.
 

callmemike20

macrumors 6502a
Aug 21, 2007
855
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USA
.

start off sets of 15ish. (sounded like you are new to this) or however many you can do. then increase the number of sets and reps per set.

once you get good at them..you start doing them while your feet are lifted on a chair.etc..
Feet lifted? That sounds tough.
 

Zombie Acorn

macrumors 65816
Feb 2, 2009
1,301
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Toronto, Ontario
Just get a cheap bench and benchpress/lift dumbells it's much more effective. At most with a pushup your resistance is going to be a portion of your own weight.
 

Iscariot

macrumors 68030
Aug 16, 2007
2,624
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Toronteazy
If you're doing them right, they will primarily work your pectoralis and triceps.

But since you're doing them wrong, they will primarily work your anterior deltoids.

To do it right, move your hands down a little bit and ensure that your elbows are flaring out at a 45° angle.
Just get a cheap bench and benchpress/lift dumbells it's much more effective. At most with a pushup your resistance is going to be a portion of your own weight.
Push ups are actually better for you because they activate the serratus anterior (especially with elevated feet), while the bench press does not. Benching without push ups results in a downwardly rotated scapula, which is pretty much "bam! injury" territory, and why the big guys who live on the bench are always complaining about shoulder injuries.

(note to anyone with shoulder pain after benching; throw in a few sets of push ups and rotate that scapula to where it belongs!)
Also, what's better to flatten/tighten your midsection - Cardio (running) or sit ups???????
Cardio. Sit ups won't do anything about belly flab.
I don't know how to do crunches.
Don't sit up, curl up. If you think about curling your shoulders towards your knees you'll activate your abdominal muscles instead of your hip muscles.
 

TheOnlyJon

macrumors 6502a
Jul 25, 2009
677
1
Indianapolis
I'd start with planches if I were you...

:rolleyes:

Just look them up, haha. But yes, pushups are regarded as one of the best ways to work your body...using your own body weight is often the most effective - granted at a certain point you will want to push your body and increase the weight.

As far as showing abs, crunches will do nothing but strengthen and tighten the muscle. You could do 400,000 crunches and never see a single can in your six-pack. It must be accompanied by aerobic exercise and healthy eating habits (I don't like the word diet). If you can stay away from lots of cheese, processed foods, and sodas, you will see that you'll start losing lots of fat. Unfortunately there's really no way to isolate a certain area (e.g. your "tire" stomach area) but if someone can disprove me on this, please do! I WANT TO KNOW!

I've been going to the gym with two friends having never really gone before. I was pretty athletic before but never really "buff" per se and I'm already starting to see muscle tone in my arms and abs. We lift and do lots of abs/pushups and then go on to cardio (they bike, I run). When doing cardio, the key is getting your heart rate UP. Depending on your age, your 'target heart rate' could be anywhere between 130 and 220. I usually hover around 170-185. When you're bangin' on all cylinders at your target heart rate, you're a fat-burning machine.

If you do choose to run, intervals are the best thing to do (at least that I've found). Walk for a minute, then sprint for a minute. Do this for as long as you can or set a distance you want to reach; I usually aim for 1.5 miles and I've been increasing this. A mile and a half doesn't seem like much, but when half of it is sprints, you'll feel it. Haha.

Anyway, that's all for now. :p
 

iOrlando

macrumors 68000
Jul 20, 2008
1,813
1
Feet lifted? That sounds tough.
well up to a few weeks ago i was doing 35 sets of 30 (its easier than you think once you do it long enough). But i was finding the results weren't as good as you would think. (once you do more than say 400..it really doesn't add a whole lot of muscle and benefit doing over 1000). So now i do around 15-20 sets of 30 and like to lift my feet and rest them on a chair for maybe 5-6 sets..i can feel the difference and it spices things up.
 

Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
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Also, what's better to flatten/tighten your midsection - Cardio (running) or sit ups???????
Both. ;)

Just do 3 sets of however many sit-ups you can do, and run for 20 minutes, minimum. Do this 3 times a week. I swear you'll notice a slight difference after 7-10 days (3-4 times).

Having said that, you may never get a 6-pack. You may get rid of your gut (if you have one), and yet never get a 6-pack. It's mostly genetic. I mean, I have a 6 pack, I'm not underweight, and yet I never do sit-ups or crunches. ;)
 

caligurl

macrumors 68040
Jun 8, 2009
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socal
planks are great for abs! as are captain's chair leg lifts (kind of like reverse crunches, but instead of laying on the floor you are held up by your arms)

i read an article and the BEST ab exercise is the bicycle maneuver!

crunches (and especially sit ups) are over rated!

and as others have said... D.I.E.T. to get the fat layer off or you'll never see that 6/8 pack!

as for push ups... they are AWESOME! get yourself a pair of perfect pushup handles at walmart (or any other store but they are cheaper at walmart) they are great... easier on the wrists.

if you do elevate your feet on a chair/bench, etc it even adds in some extra shoulder benefit!

be sure to vary hand positions from wide to regular (under your shoulders) to narrow (which will work your triceps)

try the 100 pushups challenge (and if you have an iphone they even have an app!)

(and i believe there's also a 100 situp app????)
 

Signal-11

macrumors 65816
Mar 23, 2008
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Just get a cheap bench and benchpress/lift dumbells it's much more effective.
No, it's not. This statement is very uninformed.

Good pushups with proper form are just as effective as planches/planks (or as they're called in the Army, "front leaning rest") for abs. Most people just don't have the endurance to hit 2-3 minutes of pushups. If you don't cheat yourself, knocking out a set of 100 pushups while maintaining form works your core much more than that same amount of time doing a plank.

I used to do about ~500 every other day, starting with a set of 160, dropping 20 for each consecutive set down to 100, mixing in diamonds, widearm, regular, with varying arm and hand positions (fist, fingertips, thumb/index, back of the wrist.) Between pushups and pull-ups, your upper body doesn't really need much more. I used to fight at 155 lbs and had a 275lbs bench and I never touched the weights.
 

daflake

macrumors 6502a
Apr 8, 2008
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Pushups and pull-ups are great for upper body strength and there are numerous ways to build the abs, but Caligurl hit the nail on the head. Without a proper diet, "eating clean", you will never see the abs.
 

Signal-11

macrumors 65816
Mar 23, 2008
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Pushups and pull-ups are great for upper body strength and there are numerous ways to build the abs, but Caligurl hit the nail on the head. Without a proper diet, "eating clean", you will never see the abs.
I think this kinda depends on your age. When I was 18, I was eating tremendous amounts of junk food and had six pack abs. Now, at 30+, I eat healthy but my stomach resembles a keg more than a six pack.
 

caligurl

macrumors 68040
Jun 8, 2009
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socal
it depends on genetics too... but generally speaking the order of importance for abs:

1. diet

2. cardio

3. core work
 

Zombie Acorn

macrumors 65816
Feb 2, 2009
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Toronto, Ontario
Push ups are actually better for you because they activate the serratus anterior (especially with elevated feet), while the bench press does not. Benching without push ups results in a downwardly rotated scapula, which is pretty much "bam! injury" territory, and why the big guys who live on the bench are always complaining about shoulder injuries.
You won't be able to sustain muscle gains in your chest doing pushups, there simply isn't enough resistance from your body weight unless you are a fat.

No, it's not. This statement is very uninformed.
Keep doing pushups then, I am sure you will get a nice chest in years.
 

Signal-11

macrumors 65816
Mar 23, 2008
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You won't be able to sustain muscle gains in your chest doing pushups, there simply isn't enough resistance from your body weight unless you are a fat.

Keep doing pushups then, I am sure you will get a nice chest in years.
LOL. You really are quite delusional.

I just told you a few posts up what my basic upper body routine used to consist of. At the time, I had a 46+" chest, 28" waist, weighed 155 and had a 275+ lbs bench when I hit the gym for ***** and giggles. Quite literally, girls would tell me how big my pecs were and ask to feel them.

So unless that happened all in my head, keep your uninformed opinions to yourself.
 

Iscariot

macrumors 68030
Aug 16, 2007
2,624
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Toronteazy
You won't be able to sustain muscle gains in your chest doing pushups, there simply isn't enough resistance from your body weight unless you are a fat.
Not to pick on you while you're in Time-Out, but that's simply incorrect. Not only can you use leverage to modify the resistance by positioning your limbs differently, but you can also add additional resistance through weighted vests, resistance bands, chains, stability balls, BOSU, sliding push up handles, etc.
 

Ttownbeast

macrumors 65816
May 10, 2009
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Cardio to put it simply is just what it says such exercises are not designed to build muscle a fat man can just do cardio and see no change in body shape the workout is strictly for the hearts health. It is a matter of balancing exercises for overall health weightlifting is no good by itself, niether is running you want to improve one part of your body the whole has to be re worked, here's an analogy: what good is putting a brand new engine in a vehicle if the tires are bald and the brakes don't work? you have to fix the whole thing. I've known plenty of body builders in horrible cardiovascular condition (some so bad off that their chest muscles were rock hard but had to take digitalis or nitro pills--Think about the Governator here), I've known my share of avid runners who had trouble lifting their groceries. You want a good body and good health don't **** with the balance.
 

Darion15

macrumors newbie
Jul 26, 2011
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Nice sharing.
I think the most part of body who improved by doing push ups is your chest and your shoulders, but if we did 100 push ups daily and then you could improve your chest and your shoulders.
 

bluap84

macrumors 6502
Feb 12, 2011
324
0
UK
Push Ups are good. They work your chest, triceps and shoulders. Of course they work your chest the most.

As for a good core. Lots of core work, free weights and cardio will work that.

look at www.bodybuilding.com for good weight routines, just ignore the riod bounch muscle heads :)
 

KnightWRX

macrumors Pentium
Jan 28, 2009
15,043
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Quebec, Canada
Pushups and pull-ups are great for upper body strength and there are numerous ways to build the abs, but Caligurl hit the nail on the head. Without a proper diet, "eating clean", you will never see the abs.
That's not quite true. Abs/6-pack is mostly about stomach fat. If you can get your stomach fat % down, you will get your 6-pack. Eating clean has nothing to do with fat burning per say. You can have a fat rich diet and still burn body fat and you can have a very clean diet and your body will still store fat as it processes the carbs/proteins/fats in the "clean" food.

Just eat less calories than you spend and you'll burn fat as long as you have a good exercise regimen which indicates to your body that you need your muscle mass.

I don't quite eat clean all the time, I still have only around 7% body fat and can see my 6 pack without flexing at all. And I used to be about 10 lbs shy of morbid obesity, so it's not a genetic thing.
 

iJohnHenry

macrumors P6
Mar 22, 2008
16,505
15
On tenterhooks
Nice sharing.
I think the most part of body who improved by doing push ups is your chest and your shoulders, but if we did 100 push ups daily and then you could improve your chest and your shoulders.
I depends on you hand position.

Under your shoulders, it's bi/tricepts and shoulders, further out from your shoulders your pecks come into play more and your triceps less.