How to Strengthen Your Chest and Arms with Modified Push-Ups

3 of 6 in Series: The Essentials of Day 1 of Your Ten-Minute Tone-Up

For some people, especially those just beginning a work-out routine, the traditional push-up is too challenging, so the modified push-up is a better choice. The modified push-up works the entire chest area, as well as the shoulders and the triceps.

Selecting a push-up that is appropriate for your fitness level increases the level of safety and yields better results. Never choose a traditional chest push-up if you cannot maintain the recommended form throughout the entire exercise. There are plenty of modifications available.

To do a modified push-up, follow these steps:

  1. Start by lying on your stomach. With your elbows bent, place your palms flat down on the floor a little above your shoulders and slightly to the side. Your fingertips should be pointing forward. With crossed ankles and bent knees, raise your body up to almost straighten your arms.

    Remember not to lock your elbows.

    Keep your chin tucked in a few inches toward your chest but don't drop your head.
    Keep your chin tucked in a few inches toward your chest but don't drop your head.
  2. Inhale as you slowly lower your chest till your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Exhale as you slowly return to start. Hold your abs in tight and keep your spine in neutral alignment throughout the exercise. Repeat the movement 10 times.

    If you have knee trouble, try doing the movement on an exercise mat or carpet to give you a greater degree of comfort.

    Work towards doing 20 modified push-ups.
    Work towards doing 20 modified push-ups.

If you are more advanced, try these variations:

  • Traditional push-up: This more challenging move is the same as the modified push-up, except that your lower body is balanced on the balls of your feet (where your toes attach) rather than on your knees.

  • Raised feet push-up: This advanced move gives your upper chest a demanding workout. Do it the same way as the traditional push-up, but place your feet on a raised platform such as a stool or a raised step bench.

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