To do this exercise, start in a plank position with your forearms lifting and supporting your upper body and your palms placed flat on the ground. While in this position, your arms should be at a 90-degree angle at your elbow, and your toes should be supporting your lower body. Keeping your forearms directly below your shoulders, your spine should stay straight while your eyes and fingers point ahead.
Move into a pushup position by straightening one arm and then the next while maintaining a straight spine and keeping your arms shoulder-width apart. Go back to your original plank position, starting with one arm and then doing the next, to finish one repetition. Do three to four sets of eight to 12 reps of this "pushup plank". Make sure to alternate the arm you move first with each rep.
This combination exercise helps strengthen and build your triceps, chest, shoulders and core muscles. It also benefits your lower back and hips. This exercise helps build up your arm strength and increases the mobility in your shoulders, making them less prone to injury. When these pushups are completed in timed, burst intervals of 20 or 30 seconds, the pushup planks also give you an intense cardiovascular workout.
It is best to warm up before doing this exercise with something that will help get your blood flowing, such as a full-body loosening exercise. Some common choices for this are jogging, jumping jacks, or jumping rope. This will help loosen up your joints and reduce your chance of getting injured while doing the more intense workout.
When you do the pushup plank, keep your core muscles tight and take deep, regular breaths for the duration of the exercise. Also, make sure to maintain proper form by imagining a straight line extending along your entire body. Using an exercise mat under your arms will not only make you more comfortable, it will also keep your body stable.
There are several variations that you can add to this exercise to make it more or less challenging. For those who are more advanced and are looking for more of a challenge, remain in the plank and pushup positions for up to 30 seconds on every rep. To make it even more challenging, complete three or four pushups after you've moved into the pushup position, but before going back to your plank position.
If you want to target your shoulders, move into a close-hand placement by forming a diamond with your thumbs and pointer fingers. This will also put you in a position that will target and strengthen your triceps. Finally, if you want to make this exercise a bit less challenging, balance your body on your knees instead of your toes. This will move your center of gravity, putting less weight on your arms.
Even with variations, pushup planks, as well as each exercise individually, should make up only a portion of your fitness routine. Doing cardio and strength exercises on a regular basis is critical in the prevention of diseases and for maintaining both physical and mental health. Additionally, getting proper exercise will slow down the aging process by encouraging cell regeneration, especially in the mitochondria, which produce energy.
In addition to bodyweight exercises such as the one described here, make sure to add other strength-training exercises and high-intensity workouts to your routine. Make sure to always listen to your body if you feel pain and change up your workouts so your body will continue to be challenged and have ample time for recovery.