Push-ups are one of my all-time favorite exercises. I am a huge fan of efficiency in the gym and this is an exercise that gives you an incredible amount of efficient movement, and then some.
Even though most people see the push-up as an upper body exercise, it challenges every muscle in your body— upper back, chest, triceps, biceps, core (abs, lower back, obliques), quads, glutes and even your hamstrings. I definitely consider this a full-body movement.
The reason is because when I teach the push-up, the number one thing I talk about is full-body tension. When you lower yourself down, you want to maintain the same amount of tension as when you drive your body back up from the floor. This makes the actual pushing part of the exercise a lot easier. It also helps prevent any sway in the lower back and creates excess pressure on the shoulders.
I have written about push-ups before and how to improve upon them. If you are an advanced trainee and are looking for something to spice up your push-up routine and want to challenge yourself to another level, I suggest the tempo push-up.
Anytime you change the tempo of an exercise, you really change the game. It involves a higher level of time under tension, which makes the exercise itself harder, forcing you to use more muscles and ultimately work much harder.
With this particular tempo push-up, you are going to lower yourself down for a three-second count, hold for a three-second count at the bottom position, and then drive back up to the starting position using a forceful push.
Perform anywhere from five to 10 reps of these tempo push-ups, depending on your fitness level. These should all be done on the toes with the feet slightly apart.
I would love to hear from you if you tried this exercise— leave a comment and let me know how it went!
Here’s a quick video demonstrating the difference in the tempo: