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Push Ups and Planks Challenge for Great Six Pack Abs, Chest, Shoulders and Tricep Muscles

Updated on July 4, 2018
Push up starting position or plank
Push up starting position or plank | Source
One handed push up
One handed push up | Source

Push Ups And Planks

When doing a push up you lay down on your belly with your hands under your shoulders. Your legs are straight and you are on your toes. Then you push yourself up with your arms. Going down and then back up again is one repetition. For best results the pace should be slow and even. You should use your muscles to lift and lower yourself rather than dropping to the ground. When doing a plank you get into the raised push up position and hold it.

They work your abdominal muscles, back, chest, shoulders, triceps and leg muscles. In a short time you can build a lot of muscle and significantly change your appearance. There are a number of variations but they are all simple and easy to learn. In practice some of variations can be extremely difficult but that is what makes them effective. A slight change in the exercise can make it easier or more difficult. Your body weight is all the weight you need.

For the push ups you can raise your upper body or your lower body to decrease or increase the difficulty. An incline or decline push up changes the amount of your body weight that you are lifting. For instance I can raise my feet using a set of stairs so when I do the push up I am lifting more weight. There are also one handed push ups that double the weight you are lifting with your one arm and require good balance.

A slightly different push up is the diamond push up where your hands are close together in a triangle. Other variations change how you use your hands. You can do push ups on your palms, knuckles or fingers and you can quickly lift your hands off the ground and clap each time you do a push up. If you have trouble doing the push ups because your muscles are not strong enough you can lower your knees to the ground instead of keeping your legs straight.

Planks look easy but in my opinion they are harder than push ups. It is not about the number of repetitions but the amount of time you can hold the pose. The plank variations include the plank, elbow plank, side plank, elbow side plank and reverse plank where you are facing upward and you can add some movements to the planks like leg lifts and hip dips. For the elbow plank your elbow is on the ground. When doing the side plank you raise one arm towards the ceiling turning your body so one side faces the ceiling and the other side faces the ground.

Progress

The easiest way to tell if you are making progress is to keep track of your exercise performance and your recovery time. As your body adapts you should find that it takes less time to recover and you can do more. Assuming you increase the intensity or duration of your workouts you will also notice your muscles getting bigger and harder. Regular push ups become easy and doing a lot of them can be boring. I recommend you include more difficult variations of the planks and push ups when the exercises you are doing are no longer challenging enough.

You may notice a decrease in fat because the exercises burn calories. If one of your goals is to get rid of fat then push ups and planks will probably not be enough. You should include some cardio exercises like biking, running or jumping rope. It would also be a good idea to consume less junk food and high calorie drinks.


Push Ups And Planks Challenge

To make good progress you need a challenging workout routine. The routine I made up for myself consisted of elbow planks, planks, elbow side planks, side planks, push ups, diamond push ups, incline push ups, decline push ups and one handed incline push ups. The maximum number of repetitions for each set of push ups was 12 because I wanted to focus on strength rather than endurance. For the planks the maximum time limit was 1 minute. I started by attempting to do 8 repetitions per set and holding the planks for around 30 seconds. To make it easier I split the routine up and started by doing one set of each per day. As I became stronger I increased the duration of the planks and number of reps for the push ups.

Later I increased the number of sets. The number of times the routine is done can be increased because it does not take very long to do the exercises. If you try the routine I recommend you take it easy at first and build up to it. You can modify it to make it easier or more difficult. At first you may want to just do the regular push ups and elbow planks. Eventually I want to include some handstand push ups and possibly planche push ups. Planche push ups are similar to regular push ups but your legs are off the ground.

Push ups and planks can get boring. Adding variations makes it more interesting and can get you better results. I would not recommend planks and push ups as your main form of exercise but they work well for changing your appearance and strengthening your upper body if you continue to challenge yourself. Don't just go through the motions and stick to the easier versions. To get great six pack abs while improving your chest, shoulders and tricep muscles continue to challenge yourself by increasing the difficulty of the planks and push ups.

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