the push up exercise

The push up exercise has survived decades of change and progress and remains one of the best upper body weight exercises. It can be performed almost anywhere, because it doesn’t require equipment (unless modification is involved), and when taught the proper bio-mechanics, the push up is very safe. Still, it’s the one movement that, when introduced, elicits the same response: “I can’t do a push up.” In many cases, this is true. That’s why, when working with clients at Live in Fitness™, I have a step-by-step progression that helps achieve this effective upper body sculpting exercise.

There are many variations of the push up, but the standard push starts in a high plank prone position with elbows fully extended. The individual then lowers the body, trying to keep the shoulders, hips and feet in a straight line. Once the individual is lying on the ground or the back of the triceps reach parallel, she presses her hands and toes to the ground and reverses the order, ascending upward until she reaches full extension in the elbows.

One of the first things I ask from the group or individual is to let me see how they perform the push up. Once I see how close they are to actually completing a standard push up, I can determine where they should start in the modification progression. Below are four easy progressions to help you build the correct muscles in order to complete a standard push up on the floor safely and effectively.

push up male female

Progressions starting from easiest to more standard:

Wall push up – This is performed standing and leaning against a wall, lowering the body as close as you can to the wall and pushing away.

Bench/elevated push up (Knees) – This is performed on a bench or some sturdy horizontal apparatus that can support your weight such as a ledge or bar, lowering the body as close as you can to the bench or apparatus and pushing away. The bar can start high and be lowered depending on how comfortable you are with the movement. You can lower your knees to the floor once you make it to close enough to the floor to do so.

Knee push up (Ground) – This is performed with your knees on the ground and your hands on the ground. Your body stays in a nice straight line through your shoulders, hips and knees, lowering until you are completely lying on the floor. Once you have reached this position, keep that straight line and push back up to full elbow extension.

Standard push up with knee – Starting in the standard high plank prone position with elbows fully extended, lower your body in a nice straight line through your shoulders, hips and feet until you are lying on the ground. From here you will push up to your knees. Once you have pushed to your knees, you will then push your toes into the ground and lift your knees off the ground until you are back in the high plank prone position with elbows fully extended.

Here is another great article for some push up exercise


You know that one girl (and everybody knows at least one) who is beautiful, smart and can do pretty much anything? The lunge is kind of like that… Exercise You Love to hate it. I don’t know if I would say a lunge is beautiful or smart necessarily, but it can do pretty much anything you want it to do—it can reshape your lower body, increase your muscle tissue, develop your core strength and make your hips more flexible. It works your body on multiple planes of motion, burns loads of calories, improves your balance, strength and flexibility, and requires no equipment and minimal space. In other words, it’s perfect.

So instead of hating the lunge, let’s go ahead and make it our best friend:

The Basic Lunge

Step 1

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your toes lined up. It helps if you visualize for a moment that you’re standing on railroad tracks.

Step 2

Take one foot straight back from the starting point. Imagine you’re tracing the track with your foot.

Step 3

You will be on the toe of your back foot. This is the balance factor. You’re in a split stance. Most of us, when asked to do that, move one foot back but end up like standing on a tightrope.

Step 4

Drop the back knee to the ground. The front knee will track the ankle, and both legs will be bent at 90-degree angles.

Step 5

Drive up through the front heel to fire up the posterior change ( glutes, hamstrings), ending just where you started…feet about hip-width apart like you’re standing on a railroad track.

When performing the lunge properly, you will have a wide stance, be standing tall and feel stable. And the stretch will be in the back leg as you sink down.

This is just the basic lunge. There are many other types, and once you have the basic understanding how to execute a standing alternating lunge you can experience all of them…you’ll have lots of awesome new friends.

Oh, I can’t forget to mention that it’s a great exercise you love can do almost anywhere…walking lunges at the office, down the street, or pretty much anywhere. No equipment needed. Just a desire to move and feel good.

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High-intensity Interval Training

High intense training can be performed by all fitness levels. Adjusting movements and changing rest times is all you need to do. High-Intensity Interval Training or HIIT, programmed correctly can burn that fat, melt those calories and improve your cardio tremendously in a shorter period of time than if you did so on your own. High-Intensity interval training takes a series of movements and puts them together in a way that the rest times between exercises are slim to none and muscle endurance and strength can be obtained while also keeping your heart rate revved without sacrificing form.

Your muscles and lungs start to accumulate an oxygen “debt” known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). EPOC generates a calorie and fat incinerating metabolism for hours after your work out. Continuously training in this fashion will benefit you in so many ways. You will see faster results along with seeing your exercise routine be turned up to levels you never thought you could do. You will physically and mentally be a better and a more fit individual. You will find yourself challenging your body and in return getting faster results.

You can test this yourself if you have a heart rate/ calorie monitor. After a really good HIIT work out check out how many calories you have and remember the amount. Check your calories 30 minutes later and write down the number of extra calories you have just burned not doing anything but breathing. Do this again with a standard weight lifting session on your own. The difference in numbers is going to be very different. Now assuming you are still trying to lose weight and become stronger and more toned the benefits are far greater than if you did a strict weight lifting session on your own or a cardio class. The HIIT workout gets the best of both worlds and then some. You build strong toned muscle, your heart rate stays up, lungs and breathing become more efficient and at the end of it, all more calories are burned during and post-workout.


Below is a short example of a HIIT workout:

3 rounds of 40 seconds each exercise. Move on to the next exercise as fast as possible.

Start 1st round with 100 jump rope singles

DB swings Overhead/Walking lunges/Squat Jumps

Start 2nd round with 75 jump rope singles

DB swings Overhead/Walking lunges/Squat Jumps/ Wall sit with DB press

Start 3rd round with 25 jump rope singles

DB swings Overhead/Walking lunges/Squat Jumps/ wall sit with DB press/ Burpess


30 seconds of work with 15 seconds of rest x4: mountain climbers (3min total)

Rest 1 minute

20 seconds of work with 10 seconds of rest x4: Box Jumps (2min total)

Rest 45 seconds

10 seconds of rest followed by 5 seconds of rest x4: Jack Squats (1min total)

HIIT training is going to challenge you, it will be different and most of all fun. Don’t forget to allow your body to take 1-2 rest days a week since these workouts will be more demanding and on your body physically and mentally.

running to lose weight

Interval Pace Running

Interval pace running is a perfect way to get a good run in, cover some distance and sweat. Many get stuck on the treadmill and their bodies adapt and you just don’t get the same workout in. Incorporating interval pace running has been a very good tool for all fitness levels to get outdoors and get that awesome run they have been looking for without having to stop early or get too tired.

Interval pace running can be made perfectly for your fitness level. It is very simple and easy to change when you feel like you can do more work or have to decrease the intensity. There are many times I hear people not want to go outside for a run because it makes them too tired or that the treadmill is easier for them to run for a longer period of time. Yes, using your own body to propel yourself in a forward running motion can cause you to put forth more effort if you are not used to it which will probably cause you to not run as long as you would on a treadmill. If you take a look at the brighter side of this situation you are at least able to somewhat run for a given amount of time. Now, all we have to do is find yourself a comfortable pace you can perform at.

running to lose weight

Here are a couple of ways you can personalize your pace to cater to your fitness level so that you can run for a longer period of time, cover some distance and get a good sweaty workout in.

  • Time- Run/walk for 20 seconds then walk for 20 seconds. If you feel like you can do more you can either reduce the rest time or increase the run/walk time. Either way, you should find what a good working pace is for you and keep that pace for as long as you can while progressively getting better over time.
  • Steps- Run/walk for 50 fast steps then rest for 25 steps. The stepping pace works really well if you keep the rest below the amount of work you are performing at. If that is too difficult you can always increase it.
  • Markers- This is where you can get creative and change up your workout. A classic example of marker pace running is going from street light to street light. Run/walk to a street light, when you get to it rest at a slower pace until you get to the next street light. You can also do this with mailboxes, driveways, trees, etc. Your chance to get creative and have fun with your workout.

Remember that when you are walking/running these paces you keep in mind that you want to progressively work to a pace where you don’t have to stop moving. Try out different pace intervals and figure out which pace interval will keep you at a working pace and sweating.

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