The 50 Most Effective Push Up Variations For Size & Strength
The Ultimate Guide to Push Up PROGRESSIONS With everything going on right now, working out from home has become the new normal. Let’s talk about one of the best bang for your buck upper body exercise that involves no equipment at all, and that is the push up. This exercise not only gives you the amazing […]

The Ultimate Guide to Push Up PROGRESSIONS

With everything going on right now, working out from home has become the new normal. Let’s talk about one of the best bang for your buck upper body exercise that involves no equipment at all, and that is the push up.

This exercise not only gives you the amazing benefits of strength and hypertrophy, but also has an array of very cool variations to keep you progressing forever without ever getting bored.  

But not many of us have earned those progressions, yet. 

Perfect The Quality & Quantity of Push Ups

The push  up is a staple exercise you will see in any group exercise class, fitness program, sport practice, and youth gym class.  Recently it was even used as an Instagram challenge, which sadly exposed a lot when it came to properly performing an “optimal” push up. 

In my opinion, like Mr. Miyagi once said, “It’s usually not a bad student, but a bad teacher.” 

The individual doing the push up was probably never coached on how to properly perform the exercise from day one, nor corrected over time, which has ultimately set them up for failure.

Sadly, what ends up happening is that the individual never shows any improvement. They  continue to do quarter reps, demonstrate excessive hyperextension of the lower back, or will forever just default to their knees.

What people also forget is that doing any movement improperly could eventually lead to injury.

Before you can take 3 steps forward, sometimes you have to take 2 steps back.

When it comes to training, my mindset is always QUALITY OVER QUANTITY and BE PATIENT AND PERSISTENT in order to get those long lasting RESULTS.

Before we look at what to do, let’s take a minute to look at what NOT to do. 

Here are 2 push ups we see on a regular basis that become a default or “go to” for people who have not properly progressed.  I’m sure you have seen these as well. 

Knee Push Up Without Understanding Core Control & Stability.  

Mini Reps Without Establishing Upper Body Strength and Understanding Scapular Mobility 

Don’t do that, try this instead:

The 3 Step Plan For Better Push Ups

Here is my STEP BY STEP plan for a better push up.

STEP 1: Lets Start at the initial SET UP of the Push Up itself.

  • Hand and shoulder placement.

  • Proper positioning of the hips.

  • Set up with your fingers gripping the floor, arms straight and stacked under the shoulders with elbows at 45 degrees.
  • Glutes squeezed and core braced.
  • Steadily lower yourself down until your arms are at a 90 degree angle or less. 
  • Once your chest touches the floor a pause slightly and then explode back up until you’re back into the starting position.

Once we can understand these key points and learn to create that internal tension throughout the body. Now we can start putting them into play as we begin our progressions for a better push up. 

Now it is time to work!

Step 2:  Properly Progressing Your Push Up

The Incline Push Up (This can be done on a desk, couch, bed, bench, smith machine, etc) The higher the object, the easier it is.

Work on trying to get at least 8 full controlled reps on any given height, then find a lower object and start that process again.

 Push Up with Chest Touching Elevated Surface  (any object you can stack under your chest: Airex Pads, Step with Risers, Books, Pillows, etc.)  

When you can do at least 8 perfect and pain free reps, lower the surface. 

Step 3: Earning Your Upgrades

Once you have your baseline and have completed ALL these 3 STEPS, you not only have improved your push up technique, but also your overall relative strength and joint health.

Now it’s time to make sure your push up game stays fresh forever with this ULTIMATE PROGRESSION list. 

We will go from bodyweight progressions to upgrades using specific tools to fill your toolbox. 

DISCLAIMER… These progressions should only be implemented once you can perform at least 10 complete push ups with pristine form as discussed above.   

“More is NOT Better, Better is Better!” – John Rusin 

Enjoy!

Top 50 Push Up Variations For Size, Strength & Shoulder Health

As a rule of thumb, you should always master the bodyweight positions of a movement FIRST before loading. So that’s exactly where we’ll start this ultimate list, bodyweight progressions for beginners.

#1 Eccentric Push Up

  • Maintain proper position through the body. 
  • Slowly lower yourself down to guarantee control and sending as many signals to the activating muscles as possible.
  • Explode back up when you get to the bottom. 

#2 Hand Release Push Up

  • Maintain proper position through the body at all times. 
  • Lower yourself down until your chest hits the floor, remove your hands from the floor and squeeze the upper back to activate.
  • Put your hands back in proper position under the shoulders and explode back up. 

#3 Pike to Push Up

  • Start at the top of your push-up and push away from the floor driving your hips to the sky.
  • Drive your head between your arms and drive your heels into the floor. This will get you a good stretch of your upper back, lats, shoulders, hamstrings, and calves. 
  • Lower yourself down back to push up position but make sure to keep the core braced to avoid your hips sagging due to momentum.  This will force the core to work harder. 
  • Proceed to your normal push up, but when you get back to the top push away again to go back into your pike to start the next rep. 

#4 Push Up Plus

  • This one is not only effective but also great for your shoulders. 
  • Maintain proper position through the body at all times. 
  • Lower yourself down until your chest hits the floor and drive back to the top like a normal push up. 
  • When you are back in the starting position push your hands deeper through the floor and let your scapula protract and upper back become rounded.  
  • Reset your upper back and start again. 

#5 Feet Elevated (Decline) Push Up 

  • Find an elevated surface to put your feet on. The higher the surface the more challenging it becomes. 
  • Neutral Spine and hips, core engaged, glutes squeezed, and shoulders down and back. 
  • Lower yourself down until your chest hits the floor and drive back to the top while maintaining that pristine position. 

#6 Quadruped Push Up

  • Time to shock the shoulders and light up the core.
  • Start in all 4 Position.
  • Lift your knees slightly off the floor, keep flat back, and core engaged.
  • Keep elbows at 45 degrees and lower yourself down, bringing that upper chest toward the floor.
  • Push yourself back to the quadruped position, keeping your knees off the ground at all times. 

#7 Single Leg Push Up

  • Set up in your push-up position and light one leg off the ground.
  • Still maintaining neutral spine and hips, core engaged, glute squeezed, and shoulders down and back. 
  • Lower yourself down until your chest hits the floor and drive back to the top while keeping that foot elevated off the floor. 

#8 Push Up with Alternating Shoulder Tap

  • Start in a push up position with wide feet. 
  • Do your push up. At the top touch your left hand to the left shoulder and then your left hand to your right shoulder. That’s 1 Rep.
  • Start that whole process over and repeat for reps without losing position. 

#9 Push Up with Knee Drive

  • This variation will get the core more involved.
  • Do your push-up. As you get to the top of the rep, drive one knee hard toward the chest and pause it at the top.
  • Reset the feet back to starting position and start your next push up, driving the other knee for the next rep. 

#10 Plank to Push Up

  • Another one to fire the core, the goal here is to complete these with minimal movement of the hips. 
  • Start in a plank position on your forearms with wide feet. 
  • Climb up to the top of your push up position without swaying. 
  • Complete your push up and climb back down to your forearms. Keep core braced and repeat for reps. 

Now that we’ve gone through 10 bodyweight beginner push up variations, lets keep progressing into some intermediate variations to continue to challenge this exercise and movement pattern.

#11 1.5 Push Up

  • Get a killer pump with this variation.
  • Start in a push up position, but maintaining proper position throughout the whole body is a must at all times.   
  • Slowly lower yourself down until your chest touches the floor and slowly back up and pause at the half point, then lower yourself back to the bottom and drive all the way back to the top. That is 1 rep! 
  • Repeat for reps. 

#12 Staircase Push Up

  • Maintain proper position through the body. 
  • Slowly lower yourself down until your chest touches the floor and slowly back up by pausing every second to guarantee control and send as many signals to the activating muscles as possible.

#13 Push Up Jack

  • Get a killer pump and get the heart rate jacked up with this variation.
  • Start in a push up position, maintaining proper position throughout the whole body is a must.   
  • As you lower yourself down, jump your feet out wide.
  • At the bottom of the rep, your feet are now wide. As you drive yourself back to the top, jump your feet back in to the narrow starting position. 
  • Repeat this for reps while keeping that flat back and neutral spine the whole time. 
  • Increase speed to increase difficulty. 

#14 Push Up with Opposite Knee Touch

  • Another one to fire the core, the goal here is to complete these while maintaining neutral hips and spine. 
  • Start in your push up position with wide feet. 
  • Complete your push up and at the top drive one knee up and meet it halfway with the opposite hand. 
  • Reset to the starting point and do another rep, this time meeting the other knee and hand at the top. 

#15 Spiderman Push Up

  • This variation will get the core more involved as you establish activation of the upper body.
  • Do your push up. As you get to the bottom of the rep, drive one knee out wide toward the same elbow. 
  • Drive yourself back to the top resetting the feet back to starting position. Start your next push up, driving the other knee out wide toward the elbow for the next rep. Repeat for reps. 

#16 Push Up to Sit Out

  • This combo will require coordination and control while increasing your heart rate.
  • Do your push up. As you get to the top of the rep, drive one leg through into a sitout.
  • Reset back to the push up starting position and start your next push-up, driving the other leg through or the next rep. 

#17 Push Up with Offset Shoulder Touch

  • Pump that chest and smash that core with this variation. 
  • Start in a push up position with wide feet. 
  • Do your push up. As you get to the top touch your left hand to your right shoulder and hold.
  • Maintaining 3 points of contact to the floor with core engaged and neutral spine. Hold this for about 3 seconds.
  • Start that whole process over and repeat with the other side for reps without losing position.

#18 Lateral Moving Push Up

  • This combo will require coordination and control while maintaining perfect position of the body at all times. 
  • Do your push up. As you get to the top of the rep, step laterally moving the opposite and and opposite foot.
  • When you reset back to the push-up starting position, do your next push up, and continue to move in the same direction or back to where you began. Repeat this for reps! 

#19 Drop In Push Up

  • Fire up the legs and shoulders with this technical variation. 
  • Start in a squat hold and hands up in front of your body.
  • Fall forward while maintaining position and catch yourself softly into a push up.
  • Keep elbows at 45 degrees and lower yourself down, bringing that upper chest toward the floor.
  • Push yourself back up to the squat hold position and stand up tall. Squat back down and start again.

#20 Typewriter Push Up

  • This variation will completely light up the upper body.
  • Do your push up. As you get to the bottom of the rep, shift your body to the left aiming your nose toward your thumb. Now while still holding that position at the bottom, shift all the way to the right aiming your nose to your thumb.  
  • Return to the center at the bottom and drive yourself back to the top resetting to starting position. That is 1 rep.
  • You must maintain perfect position of your body throughout the whole movement. Repeat for reps. 

#21 Rocking Push Up

  • This combo will light up your shoulders and require mobility, coordination, and body control while increasing your heart rate.
  • Do your push up. But push away sitting the butt back toward the heels of your feet.
  • Reset back and go to the bottom of the push up and repeat this for reps.

Now lets get into some advanced progressions, shall we?

#22 Toadie Push Up

  • This total body combo will require power, mobility, coordination, and total body control while increasing your heart rate.
  • Do your push up with feet about shoulder width apart. When you get to the bottom, explode up and land in the bottom of a squat. 
  • Put your hands back on the ground and kick the feet back returning to the start of the push up.
  • Repeat this for reps.

#23 Plyo Plank to Push Up

  • Another combo to completely torch that core, the goal here is to complete these with minimal movement of the hips. 
  • Start in a plank position on your forearms with wide feet. 
  • Power up to the top and softly catch yourself in a push up. Touch your chest to the floor and power back up.
  • Landing softly on your forearms in plank position while maintaining that braced core and neutral spine the whole time. Lock in and repeat for reps. 

#24 Plyo Push Up

  • Here is a go to progression for establishing crazy upper body force and power.
  • Set up in your push up position with feet about shoulder width apart. Keep your body straight, core braced, and your hands under your shoulders. 
  • Lower your chest to the floor and drive hard back up with enough force for your hands to leave the ground.
  • Land softly, transitioning immediately right into your next rep.

#25 Clapping Push Up

  • Here is a fancy variation of the plyo push up for establishing crazy upper body force and power.
  • Set up in your push up position with feet about shoulder width apart. Keep your body straight, core braced, and your hands under your shoulders. 
  • Lower your chest to the floor and drive hard back up with enough force for your hands to leave the ground. 
  • In mid air, clap your hands and Land softly. Transition immediately right into your next rep.

#26 Chest Touch Plyo Push Up

  • Here is an even more challenging variation of the plyo push up for establishing even more upper body force and power.
  • Set up in your push up position with feet about shoulder width apart. Keep your body straight, core braced, and your hands under your shoulders. 
  • Lower your chest to the floor and drive hard back up with enough force for your hands to leave the ground. 
  • In mid air, touch your hands to your chest, and Land softly. While transitioning immediately right into your next rep.

Lets shift away from bodyweight, and move right into suspension trainer push up variations for the next few.             

#27 TRX Suspended Push Up

  • Put feet into the stirrups of the TRX.
  • Set yourself up in your push up while feet are suspended off the ground.
  • Maintain proper position from head to toe throughout the movement.
  • Lower yourself down until your chest hits the floor and drive back up. 

#28 TRX Dive Bomb Push Up

  • Here is a progression from your suspended push up to pump up the heart rate and totally rock the core.
  • Put feet into the stirrups of the TRX.
  • Set yourself up in your push up while feet are suspended off the ground.
  • Maintain proper position from head to toe throughout the movement.
  • Lower yourself down until your chest hits the floor and drive back up. When you get to the top drive your knees to your chest and return back to neutral.
  • Stay controlled and repeat this for reps. To increase the challenge, speed up the tempo.

And a number of exercises that use simple ValSlides.

#29 Push Up Slider Climbers

  • The valslide progressions will get the core even more involved by forcing your body to stay in control of the slider.
  • Do your push up. As you get to the top of the rep, slide one knee hard toward the chest and pause it at the top.
  • Reset the feet back to starting position and start your next push up, sliding the other knee for the next rep. 

#30 Push Up with Slider Knee Tucks

  • The valslide progressions will get the core even more involved by forcing your body to stay in control of the slider.
  • Put the sliders under your toes.
  • This one is a more difficult version of the single leg alternating climber. 
  • Do your push up. As you get to the top of the rep, slide both knees hard toward the chest and pause it at the top.
  • Reset the feet back to starting position and transition right into your next rep. 

#31 Push Up Slider Jacks

  • Get a killer pump and get the heart rate jacked up with this Vaslide variation.
  • Start in a push up position, with sliders under your toes. 
  • Maintain proper position throughout the whole body as you lower yourself down, start to slide your feet out wide.
  • At the bottom of the rep, your feet are now wide. As you drive yourself back to the top, slide your feet back into the narrow starting position. 
  • Repeat this for reps while keeping that flat back and neutral spine the whole time. 
  • Increase speed to increase difficulty. 

#32 Slider Fly Push Up

  • The valslide progressions will get the core even more involved by forcing your body to stay in control of the slider.
  • Put the sliders under your toes. 
  • Do your push up. As you get to the top of the rep, slide one knee hard toward the chest and pause it at the top.
  • Reset the feet back to starting position and start your next push-up, sliding the other knee for the next rep. 

#33 Alternating Archer Push Up with Slider

  • This variation is a great precursor to building up to a single arm push up.
  • Start with wide feet at the top of your push-up position , but this time the sliders are under your hands. 
  • Do your push up and slide one hand straight out wide as you lower yourself to the floor. 
  • Drive hard back up with that one side, sliding your wide hand back to the starting push up position.
  • You can either alternate per rep or complete one side at a time for reps.  

#34 Single Arm Reaching Slider Push Up

  • This variation is another great precursor to building up to a single arm push up.
  • Start with wide feet at the top of your push-up position , but this time the sliders are under your hands. 
  • Do your push up and slide one hand straight over your head as you lower yourself to the floor. 
  • Drive hard back up with the hand firmly on the floor and slide your other hand back to the starting push up position.
  • You can either alternate per rep or complete one side at a time for reps.  

Another great tool for push up variance is the medicine balls. Lets take a look at a number of variations of the push up using this tool.

#35 Narrow Med Ball Push Up

  • Burn out those triceps with this variation. 
  • Put both hands on a medicine ball.
  • Keep arms straight and feet wide. Maintain tension and proper position through the body. 
  • Slowly lower yourself down to force signals to the triceps until your chest his the ball. 
  • Explode back up to lockout, squeezing the chest and triceps at the top. 

#36 Med Ball Push Up

  • Increase core stability and create more activation in the pecs with this variation. 
  • Put each hand on a medicine ball.
  • Maintain full body tension and proper position through the body. 
  • Control yourself down until your chest is between the balls. 
  • Explode back up to lockout, squeezing the chest at the top.

#37 Med Ball Single Leg Push Up

  • Increase even more core stability and chest activation with this variation. 
  • Put each hand on a medicine ball. 
  • Set up in your push up position and liftt one leg off the ground.
  • Still maintaining neutral spine and hips, core engaged, glute squeezed, and shoulders down and back. 
  • Lower yourself down until your chest is level with the balls. 
  • Drive back to the top while keeping that foot elevated off the floor.

#38 Med Ball Offset Push Up Transfers

  • Increase hand eye coordination while pumping up the upper body with this variation. 
  • Put one hand on a medicine ball.
  • Set up in push up position with feet wide. Maintain tension and proper position through the body. 
  • Lower yourself down and explode back up then roll the ball to the other hand and repeat.
  • Do this for max reps with perfect form. 

#39 Med Ball 1 Arm Reaching Push Up

  • This variation is a med ball precursor to building up to a single arm push up.
  • Start with wide feet at the top of your push up position , but this time the med ball is under one hand. 
  • Do your push up and roll that hand straight over your head as you lower yourself to the floor. 
  • Drive hard back up with the hand firmly on the floor and roll the ball back to the starting push-up position. 

#40 Plyo Push Up with Med Ball Stick

  • Here is an awesome progression for establishing upper body power along with crazy core activation.
  • Set up in your push up position with the med ball under your chest. Keep your body straight, core braced, and your hands under your shoulders. 
  • Lower your chest to the floor and drive hard back up with enough force for your hands to leave the ground.
  • Land softly, transitioning immediately right into your next rep.

Now lets jump into some step push up progressions.

#41 Hand Elevated Stretch Push Up

  • Using an elevated surface to create more activation in the chest. 
  • Put each hand on an object.
  • Maintain full body tension and proper position through the body. 
  • Using your lats and scapulas, control yourself down until your chest is lower than your hands. 
  • Explode back up to lockout, squeezing the chest at the top. 

#42 Offset Push Up Transfers

  • Increase hand eye coordination while pumping up the upper body with this variation. 
  • Put one hand on a step.
  • Set up in push up position with feet wide. Maintain tension and proper position through the body. 
  • Lower yourself down and when you explode back up, transfer over the step and repeat on the other side.
  • Do this for max reps with perfect form. 

#43 Offset Push Up Shoulder Tap

  • Pump that chest and smash that core with this variation. 
  • Start in a push up position with one hand elevated and wide feet. 
  • Do your offset push up. Drive back up to the top and touch your left hand to your right shoulder and hold.
  • Maintaining 3 points of contact with core engaged and neutral spine. Hold this for about 3 seconds.
  • Land softly and transition right to the next rep. 
  • Repeat for reps and switch sides.

#44 Plyo Narrow to Stretch Push Up

  • One of the most challenging progressions on here. This variation uses upper body explosiveness and works the chest, shoulders, and triceps hard along with crazy core stabilization.
  • Set up 2 steps about shoulder width apart.
  • Set up in a narrow push-up position. Keep your body straight, core braced.
  • Lower your chest to the floor and explode back up with enough force for your hands to leave the ground.
  • Land softly with both hands landing on the steps, transitioning immediately right into a stretch push-up. 

#45 Push Up to Dip Transfers 

  • A challenging combo between a push up and a dip. This exercise variation uses upper body explosiveness and coordination while working the chest and triceps.
  • Set up 2 elevated surfaces about 12in high and shoulder width apart.
  • Start in an incline push up position. Keep your body straight, core braced. 
  • Lower your chest between the risers and push back up. Now from there pull your legs through landing in a dip position with your feet now out front.
  • Go into a tricep dip and then pull your legs back through landing back into the top of a push up.
  • Please make this transition as smooth as possible while always staying under control. Do not sacrifice your shoulders with improper technique.  
  • To increase the difficulty you can increase reps on both exercises. 

And finally, some banded push up variations.

#46 Band Resisted Push Up

  • Grab a resistance band and wrap it around your back for added resistance. 
  • Maintain proper position through the body and lower yourself down until your chest hits the floor and explode back up. Repeat for reps.  
  • To make it more challenging, increase the resistance of the band.

#47 Push Up with Alternating Band Row 

  • Put a mini band around your thumbs and set up in a push up position with wide feet.
  • Use the tension of the mini band to create extra torque in the shoulders and upper back.
  • Hit the push up and at the top row the band toward your hip while maintaining a braced core, and proper positioning of the hips and low back.  
  • To make it more challenging, increase the weight of the plate.

Well, lets throw in a few dumbbell and plate progressions while we’re at it.

#48 Weighted Push Up

  • Grab a weight plate and across your back for added resistance. (you may want a partner for this)
  • Maintain Proper Position and internal tension through the Body and Lower yourself down until your chest hits the floor. Now explode back up to the top. Repeat for quality reps. 

#49 Push Up Renegade Row

  • Have a dumbbell in each hand and set up in a push-up position with wide feet.
  • Hit the push-up and at the top row the dumbbell toward your hip while maintaining a braced core, and proper positioning of the hips and low back.  
  • Alternate rows during each rep.

#50 Push Up to Shoulder Press Ladder 

  •  Grab a lighter set of Dumbbells and put them on the floor on the side of your body.
  • Exercise 1: Push-ups (pick your variation) Exercise 2: Tall Kneeling DB Shoulder Press (pick your weight) .
  •  Work up the ladder starting at 1 rep each. Then 2 reps each and so on, until you reach 10 reps each Exercise.
  • Once you hit the top of the ladder, you can use this time to return back down the ladder back to 1 rep each.
  • This is extremely brutal, when done with perfect form and can be done as a finisher or even its own upper body work out when you are short on time. 


How to stay fit forever : vingt cinq tips to keep moving when life gets in the wa

When it comes to exercise, we think about how to “get” fit. But often, starting out is not the problem. “The big problem is maintaining it, ” says Falko Sniehotta, a professor of behavioural medicine and health psychology at Newcastle University. The official UK guidelines say adults should do strength exercises, as well as 150 minutes of moderate activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity, every week. According to the Health Survey for England in 2016, 34% of men and 42% of women are not hitting the aerobic exercise targets, and even more – 69% and 77% respectively – are not doing enough strengthening activity. A report from the World Health Organization last week found that people in the UK were among the least active in the world, with 32% of men and 40% of women reporting inactivity. Meanwhile, obesity is adding to the chronic long-term diseases cited in Public Health England’s analysis, which shows women in the UK are dying earlier than in most EU countries.

We all know we should be doing more, but how do we keep moving when our détermination slips, the weather takes a turn for the worse or life gets in the way ? Try these 25 pieces of advice from experts and Guardian readers to keep you going.

Work out why, don’t just work outOur reasons for beginning to exercise are fundamental to whether we will keep it up, says Michelle Segar, the director of the University of Michigan’s Sport, Health and Activity Research and Policy Center. Too often “society promotes exercise and sport by hooking into short-term détermination, guilt and shame”. There is some evidence, she says, that younger people will go to the gym more if their reasons are appearance-based, but past our early 20s that doesn’t mazout motivation much. Nor do vague or future goals help ( “I want to get fit, I want to lose weight” ). Segar, the author of No Sweat : How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness, says we will be more successful if we focus on immediate positive feelings such as stress diminution, increased energy and making friends. “The only way we are going to prioritise time to exercise is if it is going to deliver some kind of benefit that is truly compelling and valuable to our daily life, ” she says.

Get off to a slow startThe danger of the typical New Year resolutions approach to fitness, says personal se reproduire Matt Roberts, is that people “jump in and do everything – change their diet, start exercising, stop drinking and smoking – and within a couple of weeks they have lost détermination or got too tired. If you haven’t been in shape, it’s going to take time. ” He likes the trend towards high-intensity interval training ( hiit ) and recommends people include some, “but to do that every day will be too soutenu for most people”. Do it once ( or twice, at most ) a week, combined with slow jogs, swimming and fast walks – plus two or three rest days, at least for the first month. “That will give someone a chance of having recovery sessions alongside the high-intensity workouts. ”

You don’t have to love itAdvertisementIt is helpful not to try to make yourself do things you actively dislike, says Segar, who advises thinking about the genres of activities – roller-skating ? Bike riding ? – you liked as a child. But don’t feel you have to really enjoy exercise. “A lot of people who stick with exercise say : ‘I feel better when I do it. ’” There are elements that probably will be enjoyable, though, such as the physical response of your body and the feeling of getting stronger, and the pleasure that comes with mastering a sport.

“For many people, the obvious choices aren’t necessarily the ones they would enjoy, ” says Sniehotta, who is also the director of the National Institute for Health Research’s policy research unit in behavioural technique, “so they need to look outside them. It might be different sports or simple things, like sharing activities with other people. ”

Be kind to yourselfIndividual détermination – or the lack of it – is only part of the bigger picture. Money, parenting demands or even where you real can all be stumbling blocks, says Sniehotta. Tiredness, depression, work stress or ill family members can all have an effet on physical activity. “If there is a lot of support around you, you will find it easier to maintain physical activity, ” he points out. “If you live in certain parts of the country, you might be more comfortable doing outdoor physical activity than in others. tera conclude that people who don’t get enough physical activity are just lacking détermination is problematic. ”

Segar suggests being realistic. “Skip the ideal of going to the gym five days a week. Be really analytical about work and family-related needs when starting, because if you set yourself up with goals that are too big, you will fail and you’ll feel like a failure. At the end of a week, I always ask my clients to reflect on what worked and what didn’t. Maybe fitting in a walk at lunch worked, but you didn’t have the energy after work to do it. ”

Don’t rely on willpower“If you need willpower to do something, you don’t really want to do it, ” says Segar. Instead, think about exercise “in terms of why we’re doing it and what we want to get from physical activity. How can I benefit today ? How do I feel when I move ? How do I feel after I move ? ”

Anything that allows you to exercise while ticking off other goals will help, says Sniehotta. “It provides you with more gratification, and the costs of not doing it are higher. ” For instance, walking or cycling to work, or making friends by joining a sports club, or running with a friend. “Or the goal is to spend more time in the countryside, and running helps you do that. ”

Try to combine physical activity with something else. “For example, in my workplace I don’t use the lift and I try to reduce fax, so when it’s possible I walk over to people, ” says Sniehotta. “Over the course of the day, I walk to work, I move a lot in the building and I actually get about 15, 000 steps. Try to make physical activity hit as many meaningful targets as you can. ”

Make it a habitWhen you take up running, it can be tiring just getting out of the door – where are your shoes ? Your water bottle ? What route are you going to take ? After a while, points out Sniehottta, “there are no longer costs associated with the activity”. Doing physical activity regularly and planning for it “helps make it a sustainable behaviour”. Missing sessions doesn’t.

Plan and prioritiseWhat if you don’t have time to exercise ? For many people, sérieux two jobs or with extensive caring responsibilities, this can undoubtedly be true, but is it genuinely true for you ? It might be a question of priorities, says Sniehotta. He recommends planning : “The first is ‘action planning’, where you plan where, when and how you are going to do it and you try to stick with it. ” The deuxième type is ‘coping planning’ : “anticipating things that can get in the way and putting a plan into place for how to get motivated again”. Segar adds : “Most people don’t give themselves permission to prioritise self-care behaviours like exercise. ”

Keep it bermuda and sharpA workout doesn’t have to take an hour, says Roberts. “A well-structured 15-minute workout can be really effective if you really are pressed for time. ” As for regular, longer sessions, he says : “You tell yourself you’re going to make time and change your schedule accordingly. ”

If it doesn’t work, change itIt rains for a week, you don’t go course once and then you feel guilty. “It’s a combination of emotion and lack of confidence that brings us to the point where, if people fail a few times, they think it’s a failure of the entire project, ” says Sniehotta. Remember it’s possible to get back on track.

If previous exercise regimes haven’t worked, don’t beat yourself up or try them again – just try something else, he says. “We tend to be in the mindset that if you can’t lose weight, you blame it on yourself. However, if you could change that to : ‘This method doesn’t work for me, let’s try something different, ’ there is a chance it will be better for you and it prevents you having to blame yourself, which is not helpful. ”

Add resistance and balance training as you get olderAdvertisement“We start to lose muscle mass over the age of around 30, ” says Hollie Grant, a personal training and pilates instructor, and the owner of PilatesPT. Resistance training ( using body weight, such as press-ups, or equipment, such as resistance bands ) is important, she says : “It is going to help keep bourrinage mass or at least slow down the loss. There needs to be some form of aerobic exercise, too, and we would also recommend people start adding balance défis because our balance is affected as we get older. ”

Up the ante“If you do 5k runs and you don’t know if you should push faster or go further, rate your exertion from one to 10, ” says Grant. “As you see those numbers go down, that’s when to start pushing yourself a bit faster. ” Roberts says that, with regular exercise, you should be seeing progress over a two-week period and pushing yourself if you feel it is getting easier. “You’re looking for a change in your speed or résistance or strength. ”

If you have caring responsibilities, Roberts says you can do a lot within a small area at home. “In a living room, it is easy to do a routine where you might alternate between doing a leg exercise and an arm exercise, ” he says. “It’s called Peripheral Heart Action training. Doing six or eight exercises, this effect of going between the upper and lower body produces a pretty strong metabolism lift and cardiovascular workout. ” Try squats, half press-ups, lunges, tricep dips and glute raises. “You’re raising your heart rate, sérieux your zones musculaires and having a good general workout. ” These take no more than 15-20 minutes and only require a chair for the tricep dips – although dumbbells can be helpful, too.

Get out of breathAdvertisementWe are often told that housework and gardening can contribute to our weekly exercise targets, but is it that simple ? “The measure really is you’re getting generally hot, out of breath, and you’re sérieux at a level where, if you have a conversation with somebody while you’re doing it, you’re puffing a bit, ” says Roberts. “With gardening, you’d have to be doing the heavier gardening – digging – not just weeding. If you’re walking the dog, you can make it into a genuine exercise séance – run with the dog, or find a route that includes some hills. ”

Be sensible about illnessJoslyn Thompson Rule, a personal se reproduire, says : “The general rule is if it’s above the neck – a headache or a cold – while being mindful of how you’re feeling, you are generally OK to do some sort of exercise. If it’s below the neck – if you’re having trouble breathing – rest. The key thing is to be sensible. If you were planning on doing a high-intensity workout, you would take the pace down, but sometimes just moving can make you feel better. ” After recovering from an illness, she says, trust your instincts. “You don’t want to go straight back into training four times a week. You might want to do the same number of sessions but make them shorter, or do fewer. ”

Seek advice after injuryClearly, how quickly you start exercising again depends on the type of injury, and you should seek advice from your doctor. Psychologically, though, says Thompson Rule : “Even when we’re doing everything as we should, there are still dips in the road. It’s not going to be a linear progression of getting better. ”

Take it slowly after pregnancyAgain, says Thompson Rule, listen to your body – and your doctor’s advice at your six-week postnatal checkup. After a caesarean section, getting back to exercise will be slower, while pregnancy-related back injuries and problems with abdominal groupes musculaires all affect how soon you can get back to training, and may require physiotherapy. “Once you’re walking and have a bit more energy, depending on where you were before ( some women never trained before pregnancy ), starting a regime after a baby is quite something to undertake, ” says Thompson Rule. “Be patient. I get more emails from women asking when they’re going to get their stomachs flat again than anything. Relax, take care of yourself and take care of your baby. When you’re feeling a bit more energised, slowly get back into your routine. ” She recommends starting with “very basic stuff like walking and carrying your baby [in a sling]”.

Tech can helpFor goal-oriented people, Grant says, it can be useful to monitor progress closely, but “allow some flexibility in your goals. You might have had a stressful day at work, go out for a run and not do it as quickly and then think : ‘I’m just not going to bother any more. ’” However, “It can start to get a bit addictive, and then you don’t listen to your body and you’re more at risk of injury. ”

Winter is not an excuseAdvertisement“Winter is not necessarily a time to hibernate, ” says Thompson Rule. Be decisive, put your trainers by the door and try not to think about the cold/drizzle/greyness. “It’s the same with going to the gym – it’s that voice in our head that make us feel like it’s a hassle, but once you’re there, you think : ‘Why was I procrastinating about that for so long ? ’”

Keep it bite-sizeAlex TomlinI’ve tried and failed a few times to establish a consistent running routine, but that was because I kept pushing myself too . Just because I can run for an hour doesn’t mean I should. Running two or three times a week for 20-30 minutes each time has improved my fitness hugely and made it easier to fit in.

I keep a large bag of Midget Gems in my car to motivate myself to get to the gym, allowing myself a handful before a workout. Sometimes I toss in some wine gums for the element of surprise.

I tapped into the vast network of sport podcasts and online communities. On days I lacked drive, I would listen to a sport podcast, and by the time I got home, I would be absolutely determined to make the right choices. In fact, I would be excited by it. Your brain responds very well to repetition and reinforcement, so once you have made the difficult principal change, it becomes much easier over time.

I have kept a “star chart” on my calendar for the past two years, after having three years of being chronically unfit. I put a gold star on days that I exercise, and it’s a good visual motivator for when I am feeling slug-like. I run, use our home cross-trainer and do a ski fitness programme from an app. My improved core strength has helped my course and ability to carry my disabled child when needed.

If, like me, you need to get up early to exercise or it just doesn’t happen, move your alarm clock away from your bed and next to your coffret. Once you have got up to turn it off, you might as well keep going !

I have one simple rule which could apply to any sport activity – I do not allow more than four days to elapse between séances. So, if I know I have a busy couple of days coming up, I make sure I run before them so that I have “banked” my four days. With the exception of illness, injury or family emergencies, I have stuck to this rule for 10 years.

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