I love pushups; adore them, even. I fell in love with them when I was in the army, and I have remained enamored with them ever since. I do not know if there is one, single exercise that provides as many benefits as the simple pushup. There is hardly anything glamorous about them, to be sure, but they have the capacity to serve as a tremendous fitness and strength-building tool... if done correctly.
One of the limitations of pushups is that, in the long run, they are more conducive to building muscle endurance than real strength, but there are things you can do to enhance the strength-building properties of pushups. In future pieces, I will get into more interesting variations of the pushup, but I want to spend the time here discussing one of the easiest, best ways to get more out of your pushups: by working the negative.
One of the rules of strength training is that adhering to stricter form and slowing your rep pace can help compensate Martial Arts classes for children Sacrament
not using heavy poundages, and when it comes to pushups, far too many people do them with lousy form and at a rapid pace that seriously diminishes the benefits sought.
More about working the negative: Resistance movements generally have two phases, called positive and negative. The positive part of the movement occurs when you are lifting into positive resistance; with the pushup, it is the movement of pushing upward that represents the positive phase of the exercise, just as it is with the bench press. The negative part of the pushup movement is the lowering of your body back down close to the floor, just as the negative part of the bench press movement is lowering the weight back down to your chest.
A prime source of the usefulness of strength-building exercises comes from focusing on keeping the negative part of a movement as challenging as the positive. When you finish the positive, do not sloppily relax your arms so that you basically flop back down close to the floor without having encountered much feeling of resistance. Instead, keeping your entire form intact, lower yourself back down no faster than you pushed up, and even go as far as to lower yourself just a bit slower.
Working the negative is an important but often neglected part of any resistance movement, and it is especially important when doing bodyweight-resistance exercises like the pushup.