Herschel Walker is best known for winning the Heisman Trophy in 1982 and being a star National Football League running back. Known for his power and speed, Walker openly bragged that he didn’t lift weights although anyone who looked at him would certainly reach the opposite conclusion. The 6-foot-1-inch Walker weighed 225 pounds and was very muscular.
Today, Walker is 53 years old. He still has an “incredible physique,” according to TMZ Sports, which recently saw him in New York City. Just four years ago, in fact, he won a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fight. He is also talking about playing football again.
How has Walker remained in great shape? He attributes his strength and fitness to his exercise routine. Simply put, he has done 1,500 pushups and 2,000 sit-ups per day since he was in high school, reports CNN. Today, he still does 1,500 pushups every single day.
Walker’s ability to stay to remain strong by relying on pushups shows why many exercise experts have called pushups “the world’s greatest exercise.” The American Council on Exercise reports that pushups have a major positive effect on your arms, back, chest and shoulders. Pushups have a particularly positive impact on the deltoid muscles in your shoulders, the pectoral muscles in your chest, and the triceps muscles in your arms.
When you do pushups, you are essentially using your own body weight as your resistance because you are lifting yourself. This is significantly less expensive than using weights as resistance. You can also do pushups in far more locations than you can lift weights. Gyms, of course, are a great place to do pushups, but you can also do them in your bedroom, living room, and outside on the sidewalk.
So why don’t more people emulate Herschel Walker and devise an exercise routine based on pushups? Maybe because doing pushups is boring. They shouldn’t be.
“The only downside (of pushups) is that busting out the same old up-and-down routine day after day can start to feel tedious,” according to the Men’s Fitness magazine article “The Top 15 Pushup Variations.” “So it might be time to switch it up with a few new challenging moves. You’ll feel more motivated, diversify the muscle groups you’re hitting, and build muscle and strength in places your average-Joe pushup wouldn’t even dream of touching.”
10 Pushup Ideas
- Push yourself up from a medicine ball that is between the floor and you instead of pushing yourself up from the floor. You should put the palms of your hands on the two sides of the medicine ball. This kind of pushup has more of a positive effect on your abdomen than a regular pushup, according to The American Council On Exercise. Here is how you do a medicine ball pushup.
- Leave the lower part of your legs, the part below the knees, on the floor as you do a pushup. Your knees are bent on the ground. Thus, these pushups are called bent knee pushups. Here is a demonstration.
- Raise one of your legs as you push your body up and down. Then, you can raise the other leg as you do the next pushup. Or you can do several pushups while raising the left leg up and then several pushups while raising the right leg up. These pushups have more of an effect on your hips than regular pushups. Here is how they are done.
- Lift barbells between pushups. While in the pushup position and gripping a barbell with each hand, you push your body from the floor. Then, while you’re body is at its highest position, you lift one barbell up and down. Then, you lift the other barbell up and down. Then, you do your second pushup. This Huffington Post article demonstrates the technique.
- Do a modified pushup. This is similar to Idea No. 2 because your knees are bent. However, the part of your legs below the knees are pointed upward rather than on the ground. Only the knees remain on the ground. The Huffington Post article gives more details.
- Change the position of your hands. Instead of having both hands in the normal position, which is the distance between your shoulders, you can move both hands farther apart or closer together. When your hands are just a few inches apart, you really strengthen your triceps, says the “Top 15 Pushup Variations” article.
- Elevate your feet. Instead of leaving them on the ground as you do your pushups, put your feet on a box or a bench. These pushups have more of an effect on your shoulders and chest than regular pushups.
- Do pushups with one arm. And you can envision being the Rocky character in the movies as you do so. You can alternate right and left arm pushups or you can do 10 of one and then 10 of another. These pushups really improve your upper body strength.
- Clap as you are lowering yourself to the ground. These kind of pushups are fun and challenging. They also “help you develop explosive power,” the Men’s Fitness article reports.
- The downward-facing dog pushup is a bit difficult to describe. Basically, it entails bending your body so your rear end is closer to the ceiling than any other body part. This pushup strengthens your arms, back, legs, rear end, hips, and more. Here is how it is done.
Variety is the spice of life so doing these different kinds of pushups can make your exercise routine more interesting.