In this article I’m going to help you add specificity to your fitness themed New Year’s resolutions and increase your chances of succeeding with them by focusing on one specific exercise – push ups.
I’m going to be discussing why push ups are such a great choice and then providing you with a range of push up variations and workouts which will allow you to fully incorporate this effective exercise into your lifestyle this year.
As we enter the New Year, you’re probably looking forward to this finally being the year where you achieve your New Year’s resolution and improve your fitness levels.
However, if you want this year to be different, you need to figure out where you’ve been going wrong in the past and make sure you don’t make those same mistakes this year.
In my experience, one of the most common reasons people fail with fitness themed New Year’s resolutions is a lack of specificity.
People decide that they want to get fit and enter January with loads of enthusiasm but they don’t take the time to learn how they’re going to be getting fit.
They then get overwhelmed during January and by February they’ve fallen back into their same old habits and given up on fitness.
Why Push Ups?
Push ups do a great job of toning your chest and triceps. While they’re not the only exercise you can do to build up these muscles, there are a couple of reasons why you should choose push ups over other chest and tricep exercises when starting off with your fitness themed New Year’s resolutions:
1) They’re Simple
Exercises such as dumbbell chest presses and barbell skull crushers can be very effective. However, when you’re just starting out, learning the proper form and how to balance the weight can be difficult.
Push ups don’t require you to lift or balance any weight and involve a relatively simple, repetitive motion which makes them much easier to learn when you’re new to fitness.
2) You Can Do Them Anywhere & At Any Time
However, for push ups the only equipment you need is your body, so you can do them anywhere and at any time that suits you during the day.
No matter how busy or hectic your lifestyle is, you’ll always have moments where you can stop and do a few push ups.
Push Up Variations
Push ups are a great exercise for people who are just getting started with fitness and for people who have been working out for many years.
However, if you’re not confident with push ups or find that they’re not challenging you enough, you may want to implement one of the three variations listed below:
1) Beginner Variation – Bent Knee Push Ups
If you’ve got limited fitness experience and never done a push up before in your life, you may want to start with the bent knee push ups.
To perform bent knee push ups, get into a regular push up position but instead of keeping your legs straight, bend your knees and allow them to touch the floor.
Doing this will take some of the weight out of the push up and make it easier to perform.
Here’s A Video Demonstration Of Bent Knee Push Ups
2) Intermediate Variation – Diamond Push Ups
Diamond push ups are a great variation if you can do 20 or more regular push ups without breaking a sweat.
To perform diamond push ups, get into a regular push up position but instead of having your hands at shoulder width, bring them together and form a diamond shape on the floor with your hands.
Bringing your hands together in this way increases the intensity of each push up and makes them much more challenging.
Here’s A Video Demonstration Of Diamond Push Ups
3) Advanced Variation – Spiderman Push Ups
If you’re really confident in your push up abilities, Spiderman push ups are a great way to challenge yourself.
To perform Spiderman push ups, get into a regular push up position and as you lower yourself into the push up, bend your right knee and bring your right foot off the floor.
Then as you raise yourself out of the push up, extend your right knee and place your right foot back on the floor. Repeat with alternating legs for as many repetitions as you can.
By bringing a leg off the floor each time you lower yourself into the push up, your chest and tricep have to lift much more of your body weight and this makes Spiderman push ups very challenging.
Here’s A Video Demonstration Of Spiderman Push Ups
Push Up Workouts
As mentioned above, push ups are a simple and flexible exercise that you can perform anywhere and at any time. This makes them a fantastic exercise to build your workouts around.
Whether your fitness themed resolution is to tone up, improve your cardiovascular fitness or develop a sports specific skill, a workout that includes push ups can help and if you get creative, there are literally thousands of push up themed workouts you can create.
However, if you need a creative spark, start off with these three push up based workouts:
Workout 1 – Chest & Arms Push Up Workout (you will need a chair and a pull up bar for this workout)
1. Perform one push up or any of the push up variations listed above.
2. Stand up, grab the pull up bar and perform one pull up.
3. Let go off the pull up bar and drop to the floor.
4. Sit on the chair, stretch your legs out in front of you and bend your knees slightly.
5. Place your hands on the chair next to your butt, lift your butt off the chair, move forward and then perform one tricep dip.
6. Repeat steps 1-5 for as many repetitions as you desire.
Workout 2 – Chest & Core Push Up Workout
1. Perform 10 push ups or any of the push up variations listed above.
2. Hold the push up position, then bend your elbows and place your forearms on the floor to get into a plank position.
3. Hold the plank for as long as you can.
4. Rest for 30 seconds then repeat steps 1-3 for as many repetitions as you desire.
Workout 3 – Push Up Cardio Workout
1. Find a space outside where there’s enough room for you to do 100 meter sprints.
2. Perform 10 push ups or any of the push up variations listed above.
3. Stand up and sprint 100 meters.
4. Repeat steps 2-3 for as many repetitions as you desire.
When it comes to getting fit during the New Year, push ups tick all the right boxes. They’re an effective way to target your chest, they don’t require any equipment, they’re flexible and they can easily slot into almost any workout routine.
So if you’ve decided on the New Year’s resolution of improving your fitness but are struggling to get started, try out the push up variations and workouts in this article and make this New Year the one where you achieve all your fitness goals.