DECLINE PUSH UP ON A BALLSummer is over and we sadly bid farewell to the sleeveless season. But just because fall is upon us doesn’t mean we have to give up great arms. Here is a workout to sculpt your arms and promote a lovely chest.


By the way, no gym required!

Back to Basics for Strength and Tone

The pushup is one of the most basic moves and should be a staple in every woman’s workout. With the allure of fancy machines, cardio equipment, and free weights, it is tempting to neglect this great, highly accessible move. However, added to your existing routine, the pushup promises great upper body results. The following workout can be done at home and requires only a small investment: fifteen minutes of your time, a chair or step, and an optional physio ball or jumprope.

Decline Pushups

DECLINE PUSH UP WITH A BALLDecline pushups help to target the upper portion of your chest, isolating and taxing those stubborn muscles more effectively. Place your hands on the floor, a little wider than shoulder-width apart. Rest your feet shoulder-width apart (on toes) on any reasonable prop around the house: a step, chair, or bench. Your feet should be slightly higher than your head, angled toward the ground.

Lower your body until your elbows are at a ninety degree angle, then extend your arms straight again, without locking out your elbows, to return to starting position. Abs should remain engaged throughout for stability, and your back should be straight for good form. Try to do between 10 and 20 repetitions.

Modify it to Make it Easier:

Use a bench that is close to the ground.

Modify it to Make it More Difficult:

Use a physioball under your feet. This further engages your core muscles.

Incline Pushups

INCLINE PUSH UP ON A CHAIRFollowing one set of the above decline pushups, roll right into incline pushups. Using the same bench, step, or chair, place your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and lean into platform. Rest your toes on the floor and lower your body toward the bench until your elbows are at ninety degrees. Abs should be tight, back should be straight, and movement should be controlled. Push up again until your arms are straight, but not locked out. Aim for 10-20, depending on your current strength training routine.

Modify it to Make it Easier:

MODIFIED BENCH PUSH UPRest on your knees, instead of your toes for additional assistance, or use a higher surface for the incline pushup.

Modify it to Make it More Difficult:

Use a physioball under your hands, again, calling on your core muscles for stabilization.

Standard Pushups

Once you have competed one set each of decline and incline pushups, complete a set of 10- 20 standard pushups on the floor. Arms should still be just wider than shoulder-width apart, feet should be no wider than shoulder-width. Continue to pay attention to good form throughout the exercise. Once you finish a set, rest for one minute, and repeat the whole cycle two more times.

MODIFIED PUSH UP ON BENCHOptional Cardiovascular Benefit:

If you would like to keep your heart rate elevated, add an additional cardio element and jump rope for one minute between each set of pushups. If your arms are weak or tire easily, this will allow for some extra upper body recovery, while adding a heart-healthy benefit.

This can-do workout can be accomplished in a reasonable amount of time. Try it while the baby is sleeping or while little ones are distracted with finger paints outside. Try to sneak it in twice a week for a noticeable difference in your upper body.