Exercise of the month
Triceps pushups are a very challenging exercise for the back of the arms. Like traditional pushups, they challenge a variety of muscles in the body (not just the triceps)…what makes them different is your hand position on the floor. By using a narrow hand-placement, you can really target the triceps muscles. This variation is shown on a ball, though you can do them on the floor as well.
- Kneel in front of the ball and roll forward until the ball is under the mid-upper thighs (the further out you are, the harder this move is).
- Place the hands shoulder-width apart and place them just below the chest.
- Bend the elbows and keep them close to the body and facing the back of the room as you lower down into a pushup in a see-saw motion (i.e., don’t bend at the hips)
- Push back to start and repeat for 1-3 sets of 10-16 reps.
Pushup with Side Plank
Yet another way to spice up traditional pushups is to engage the core even more with an added side plank. By doing a pushup and rotating into a side plank, you’ll build strength and endurance in the arms and shoulders, since balancing your body weight on one arm is much harder than on two. The rotation fires the obliques and even the legs work harder to keep you stabilized. For a modification, you can try this exercise on your knees as well.
- Begin in a pushup position, on the hands and toes (or on the hands and knees, if you’re modifying). Make sure the core is braced and the body is in a straight line from head to heels.
- Bend the elbows and lower into a pushup.
- As you push up, rotate to the left, taking the left arm straight up towards the ceiling and rotating the feet into a staggered position (left foot in front and right foot in back).
- Hold the side plank for a few seconds, then rotate back to your pushup position.
- Do another pushup and, this time, rotate to the right into a side plank, balancing on the left arm.
- Continue pushups with alternating side planks for 1-3 sets of 8-16 reps (1 rep includes side planks to the right and left).
Chest Press with Dumbbells – Alternating
This interesting variation of the traditional dumbbell chest press is more challenging than it looks, especially if you do it on an exercise ball. By alternating the arms, you add a new dynamic to the move where you have to engage your core to keep the body stable. When doing this version, you may need to go lighter on the weights. You might also want to try it on a bench or floor before moving on to an exercise ball.
- Lie down on a bench, step, ball or the floor. Begin with the weights in each hand straight up over the chest, palms face out.
- Keep the left arm in place while bending the right elbow and lowering the arm down until it’s at or just below the chest (the arm should look like a goal post).
- Press the arm back up without locking the elbow, then immediately repeat the move on the left arm while keeping the right arm in place.
- Continue alternating sides, engaging the abs to keep the torso from moving.
- Repeat for 1 to 3 sets of 8 to 16 reps on each arm