Pushups can be difficult. I had gotten to where I could do regular push-ups, but then I stopped doing them and started doing dumbbell chest press (which I still do), since they both focus on the chest and triceps. A couple of weeks ago, I started doing pushups again. I realized that I had to start over and do modified pushups instead. I can do more of the modified pushups than the regular pushups.
The others have made some good suggestions. In addition to what the others have said, what about looking at other exercises that also target the triceps. They can target the triceps alone or be one of multiple muscles targeted. Maybe try out something like the reverse plank (www.sparkpeople.com/resource/exercises.asp ?exercise=142). You could also try one of the variations of pushups too.
Push ups take a lot of practice, if you can do 5 then you have a good start. Do you have any resistance bands? You can do a lot of arm exercises with those. Also look for heavy things around the house. Also, you can do things like tricep dips without weights, and I find that even ab exercises like planks can involve your shoulders if you do them from your palms rather than forearms..
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One way to train pull ups at home is to put a broom stick over two chairs, lie underneath it with your core tight and pull yourself up (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RX6NO50G-U c) you can adjust it by putting the bar at different heights and/or keeping your feet flat on the floor and knees at 90 degrees rather than starting on your back. This same set up with you over the bar is a good way to do inclined pushups if you can't do full ones.
Of course, muscles come in opposing pairs, and you need to do a "pull" exercise as well. Chin-ups/pull-ups are ideal, but these are a pretty advanced exercise. If you have access to a gym, the lat pull down machine is a good substitute. If you have free weights at home, the bent over dumbbell row works the same muscles.
Common household objects (eg. a milk jug full of water) can substitute for low weights. It's not until you get to 7.5 - 10 lbs that the size and gripability of purpose built weights becomes compelling - I wouldn't bother buying weights below this range. Adjustable weight sets are a very good idea - they are a little more expensive than a single fixed weight, but they can grow with you and are cheaper in the long run than a range of fixed weights.
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
Throughout my entire life, I don't believe I've ever been able to do more then 5 push ups.. I have plenty of exercises I'm starting to do that involve my legs/abdominal area, but I am completely clueless when it comes to my arms. Also, the only weights I have are these huge ones that are my husbands. What would you recommend starting out with? I want strong arms for the first time in my life!
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