lunes, 8 de septiembre de 2008

Fitness: push-ups for power

Power training can involve regular sessions on the weight bench, but there’s a more efficient way to build body strength. What is the perfect exercise?

If it exists, nothing comes closer than the push-up, considered the ultimate measure of fitness by many experts - and one that the American College of Sports Medicine suggests should replace more namby-pamby exercises.

There are many variations - the one-handed push-up for the supremely athletic, for instance - but the basic principle remains the same: 1. Balance on your toes and hands, pressing your palms into the floor and keeping your hands just wider than shoulder-width apart.
2. Straighten your back and legs so that your body remains in a “plank” position. 3. Breathe in and lower your torso to the floor by bending your elbows to 90 degrees.
4. Engage (tense) your abdominal muscles to help to keep legs straight.
5. Breathe out and push back up to the starting position.

Why the popularity of the push-up has endured becomes clear when you learn how many muscles it tests - those in the arms, chest, abdomen, hips and legs - with each repetition.

Researchers in one US trial showed that, on average, 66.4 per cent of total bodyweight is lifted with each push-up. So if you weigh 70kg you are heaving a mighty 43kg - far more than you would on a bench- press machine.

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