Push-ups, or the push-ups on the arms, are among the most widespread exercises to tone the body and strengthen the muscles. Also called push ups, they are the first choice to train the upper body, especially in the absence of specific equipment. But what are the muscles involved?
The push-ups on the arms are part of the universe of free-body exercises and, as easy to understand from the position taken during training, they mainly involve the arms, pectorals and even the abdomen, although the latter to a lesser extent. Before finding out which muscles are affected, however, it is useful to provide some clarification.
To understand which muscles will work with a series of push-ups, it is first necessary to learn which position is correct for their basic mode.
It is sufficient to place the hands on the ground in the wrong way, in fact, to shift the weight of the body and not to stress the right muscle band.
Arranged in the classical position, that is with the hands resting on the floor and the legs closed and tense, it is necessary to check some factors before starting:
Head: during training, you will have to fix the floor instead of looking forward. This will avoid unnecessary neck and cervical stress, it will also increase the quality of the movement since the neck and trunk will be aligned.
Hands and arms: the hands should rest at a slightly wider distance than the shoulders, so they should be parallel to the trunk. Furthermore, the entire palm must adhere to the ground, even in the push phase when one is naturally inclined to force the load on the fingers. Furthermore, arms and elbows should not be extended to the outside: they remain aligned with the hands.
Bust and back: the back must remain straight and aligned to the legs during the execution, to allow the right abdominal work. You need good control, even mental, to avoid arching your back to compensate for fatigue.
Push-ups on the arms allow to work on different muscle groups, but the bands involved vary according to the position taken. For example, with your hands close to your chest you will mainly train your upper arm and chest muscles, while with more distanced limbs you will get more results on your side ones. At first it is useful to be followed by a personal trainer to identify the parts of your body that need more care, so to learn all the correct positions. In general, the following areas are involved in the training.
Triceps: also called brachial triceps, is that posterior arm muscle formed by three heads – long, lateral and medial – that goes practically from the humerus to the elbow.
Biceps: it is the antagonist of the triceps, as well as the larger muscle of the arm. Positioned anteriorly, it starts from the scapula and is inserted with a tendon in the radium.
Anconeus: a small muscle in a triangle, placed in posterior position to the elbow.
Pectorals: both the upper and the lateral pectorals, depending on the distance of the hands on the ground, and the lower or internal ones as the arms lengthen.
Abdominals: to a lesser extent than the previous ones, the tension and weight of the body during flexion stimulate the rectus of the abdomen and the external obliques.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that push-ups can also be carried out at home, since this is a free-body exercise that does not require the presence of an observer, nor particular safety regulations. Obviously, the training program as well as the intensity must first be assessed with external staff and, not least, with the doctor to evaluate any previous conditions that could make the exercise contraindicated.
Helen Charlotte is a health centre assistant three days per week and a Biologist Student who enjoys running listening to music and walking. She is brave and entertaining, and loves competitions.