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Push-ups are the gold standard in bodyweight and at-home workouts. In fact, they probably deserve to be the go-to exercise from toddler to senior. They don’t require any special skills or genetic predisposition to be done at any level, they are adaptable to almost any situation, and they never let you down, get any easier or stop being beneficial.
My grandfather, a veteran, would, until his death at the age of 94, get up every morning and knock out 20 push-ups before we did anything else. No excuses. Do push-ups.
Raising Your Push-Up Game
The spiderman push-up is a variation that not only gets you out of a rut if a push-ups are boring you or not giving you that sense of achievement that you crave, but it also provides a total body workout that hits a trifecta of strength, stamina, and mobility in one movement that you will find very difficult to master.
There are a few things that you have to keep in mind before you get into this movement:
- You are, effectively, holding a perfect plank position, upper and lower holds, throughout the position. That means whether you are in the top position of the push-up or the bottom, you maintain a straight line from head to butt, you don’t drop your pelvis so that it looks like you want to hump the ground, and you feel tension through the length of your body. Keep that in mind so that you don’t stress your lower back
- Your elbows don’t try to escape and stay in place throughout the movement, by your side, which is exactly what they will try to do when you start feeling tired or you lack the mobility to get your knees to the right position. You want to feel the strength surge through your arms and upper body then conquer those elbows
- You are going to be opening up your hips at one point which means that you have an antagonistic interaction that will take place between the tension in your body and the looser movement of your leg opening up when your knees moves to your elbow. You want your lower body involved and not left out so focus on form and strength of movement in the legs as you raise your knees
- You’ll need to think of this exercise as being both unilateral and bilateral because it kind of goes both ways so try and feel the shifts in movement and tension through your body, reacting to the forces at play. You want to create variations that change the demands of this exercise then you want to have an awareness of the flow of the movements
Bearing all that in mind, the instructions in this video are straightfoward. Like I said, this isn’t a complicated exercise but if you think about the technique and form requirements, there are many challenges to overcome if you are to master it.
If you’re up for it you can make a pretty strong case for building a complete high-intensity workout around the spiderman push-up. Change the tempo to controlled, slower movements and you’ll create constant tension in your muscles for more emphasis on strength.
Raise the tempo while keeping strict form and you should be able to create a taxing full-body HIIT workout. Do it casually, even as a warm-up and you might get all your joints moving and feel yourself open up a little.
Just maintain that strong line running through your torso so that you are not twisting or collapsing at any point, otherwise adjust the rep scheme, your rest time between sets or whatever it is so that you are not flailing away uselessly.
The key to bodyweight exercises (especially something like the push-up) is how you’re in the driver’s seat and can make them be whatever you want them to be.
The spiderman push-up is pretty good at giving you feedback on your total body and it can probably teach you a little more about yourself and where your weaknesses and strengths are.