Everyone knows how to do a push-up; you've done it a hundred times and more during National Service or PE lessons. It's simple, right? Just drop to the floor on your hands, dip, push yourself up again, and then repeat. As simple as it sounds, push-ups are actually a very effective workout for everyone, from gym rats to couch potatoes.
Push-ups train crucial muscles, strengthen your core and better your posture. Best of all, they require no equipment. You can do them in the bedroom, in the void deck or in the park, anywhere with a flat surface is perfect. And there are many variations of the push-up you can pick according to your needs. Here are three (in increasing order of difficulty) to get you started with some expert guidance from fitness trainer Erik Gunawan.
1 Diamond push-up
Only slightly tougher than regular push-ups, the diamond variant puts more pressure on your deltoids and triceps.
1. Kneel on all fours, with your hands shoulder-width apart.
2. Bring your hands together to form a diamond with both sets of index fingers and thumbs. Lift your knees off the ground. Ensure your back is straight.
3. Bend your elbows to lower your body until your chest reaches your hands. Then push yourself back up by extending your elbows.
Expert tip: Keep your elbows tight to your sides as you perform the diamond push-up. Don't allow your elbows to flare out.
2 Uchi Mata push-up
Not only does this Japanese variant increase the emphasis on your shoulders, it activates the core, lower back and hamstrings.
1. Get into the regular push-up position, with your right leg slightly raised.
2. Dip your body until your chest is almost touching the floor. While doing so, lift your right leg higher.
3. As you bring yourself up again, lower the raised leg. Plant it on the floor and repeat with your left leg.
Expert tip: To further engage your core, drive your knee forward and then push back to a starting position.
3 Hindu push-up
These are difficult to master, but their benefits are worth it: they work your shoulders, legs, back, hips, and chest while improving your flexibility.
1. Stand with your feet further apart than the width of your shoulders. Bow over and prop yourself up with your hands, without bending your arms or legs. Your body should resemble an inverted 'V'.
2. Lower your hips and bend your arms - but keep your legs straight - while moving your torso down and forward in a waving motion. Your chin should almost graze the floor, and your back should arch. Avoid jerking movements.
3. Raise your hips and push your body backwards until you return to the starting position. The entire cycle should be fluid and smooth.
Expert tip: to get to downward facing dog position, start with your regular position then slowly drive your waist backwards to form the inverted 'V' position.