Move of the Week: Tricep Push-Up

By Emma-Kate Stampton On April 15, 2012 @ 11:12 am In Fitness | No Comments

Be sure to keep your back straight, your abdominal muscles drawn in, and your head and neck aligned well while performing the tricep push-up. (Jocelyn Bong)

Be sure to keep your back straight, your abdominal muscles drawn in, and your head and neck aligned well while performing the tricep push-up. (Jocelyn Bong)

The tricep push-up is one of the best exercises to help tone and shape the muscles in your arms. It also strengthens some smaller muscles that play an important role in stabilizing your shoulder blades.

Stabilizing your shoulder blades is important because shoulders have an incredible range of movement but relatively small tendons and ligaments to hold them in place. Therefore you need to work on keeping your shoulders stable and strong.

Getting Started. Despite the simplicity of this exercise, it can be quite tough to master. Begin by placing your hands directly under your shoulders, with your fingertips facing forward.

Your body needs to be straight, with your core muscles active, particularly the transverse abdominals and pelvic-floor muscles. This will keep your back safe and strengthen and tone your abdominals while you work your upper body.

Keep your focus slightly in front of your hands on the floor to prevent your neck from straining.

Expect to see results in your mid back, shoulders, triceps, and biceps.

Inhale as you lower your body to the floor with your elbows hugging both sides of your body. Exhale as you press back up to the starting position. Be sure to keep your elbows in throughout the movement.

If you are already working out and feel strong in your upper body, start from your toes and see how that goes. If you do not have the strength to perform this properly, then drop your knees to the floor and perform the push-ups from this modified position.

Try to get all the way to the floor as though you were about to kiss the floor. The slower you lower and lift, the more challenging this movement will be.

Start with two sets of 10 repetitions and build up from there.

Suggestions for Beginners. Perform one set of 10 repetitions from your knees. Take a 30-second rest and stretch your arms out. Once your arms feel strong again, try to perform at least two repetitions from your toes. If you don’t get very low, don’t worry—the strength will build over time.

Focus Points.
The tricep push-up tends to be a lot harder than the regular push-up. It uses the smaller muscles of the arms and back, which makes it more difficult. The regular push-up integrates the large muscles of the chest and back, so it is easier and does not target the shoulders and arms as much.

Expect to see results in your mid back, shoulders, triceps, and biceps. You need to do this exercise at least three times per week for four to five weeks to see changes in your body.


Increase the number of repetitions and sets to three sets of 15 to 20 repetitions when you know you can perform 10 to 12 repetitions in good form.

Emma-Kate Stampton is a personal trainer and Pilates-teacher trainer. She is based in Brisbane, Australia.

 


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