Pushup Exercises and the Celebrities Who Do Them
Pushups have been done to death. The basic exercise brings up a cacophony of drill seargants screaming into the misery of cold bootcamp air at people who volunteered for this abuse. Why this damn pushup has survived so long should be a mystery for the ages.
Instead, this bodyweight exercise has not only survived, but exploded across the globe. It is now a virtual necessity in anyone’s fitness routine; from bodybuilders to Cirque de Soleil performers, people love (or love to hate) doing pushups.
Now in a minute I’m going to blow your mind with a lengthy list of ground pressing movements. From the basic hands flat butt flat version to the 360 degree plyometric push from the ground; we’ll cover it. No, this writer will not be giving you a demo of that version, not a successful one at any rate!
Before I do that, however, I want to demonstrate just how pervasive this exercise is in any culture, throughout any economic class. Who does pushups?
Ellen Degeneres and Michelle Obama
Challenged on her show by Ellen Degeneres, Michelle Obama, as First Lady, put her hands to the floor and knocked out 25 reps in good form. Not bad at all for a 48 year old woman! And that wasn't even to failure.
Pushup Traveling Man
Joel Kirsch became famous doing a 35 mile, 7 week journey across Marin County in California. The catch? He traveled the distance by doing pushups. The 60+ year old man embarked on the journey to raise awareness for the link between fitness and educational success. MoreMarin.com reports he completed an estimated 35,000 pushups. Whew!
The prevailing rumor, testified to by the former NFL star himself, is that Herschel Walker does thousands of pushups, sit-ups and pull-ups on a daily basis, and never touches weights. All this exercise while maintaining a Spartan diet of one meal a day. How many thousands? Approximately 1,500 pushups is his off-hand estimate when asked. But who's counting?
Doing that many pushups in a week would be an accomplishment, the fact Herschel Walker does this on any given day would make him famous somewhere, regardless of his background. Oh, and by the way, he's a middle-aged guy!
Rap star Nelly obviously works out, a lot. One of his favorite exercises? Oh come on now! Pushups of course! In an interview with AskMen, Nelly reveals a daily habit that pays homage to Herschel Walker's routine:
"I’m not able to get into the gym as often as I would like, which is about 2-3 times a week. Regardless, I’ll still do 1,000-1,500 sit-ups and push-ups a day; they’re easy and I don’t need a gym to do them." (AskMen)
Sure, 1,000 plus pushups and sit-ups every day is easy.
Reggie Bush and Kim K. doing, well, just Reggie Bush
In a tribute to how little she did to earn her celebrity, oh wait, wrong blog. Anyway, a famous, and to give credit where it's due, exciting and well done photo shoot, Kim Kardashian adds resistance while Reggie Bush does pushups. I'm guessing he could knock out a couple thousand with ease, don't you think?
Granny doesn't need to Lift
Unbelievable. Really, it's hard to believe this picture is real, and since I couldn't track the source, it might not be. If it is, however, she deserves some fame. How many of non-elderly folks out there can do this? Uh huh, me neither.
A Million Pushups
Obviously, finding celebrities, or temporary celebrities doing this famous exercise is not difficult. Sorry folks, but it has to stop somewhere. Then again, this is the internet and that list could be added to forever. In any case, below is the promised list of pushup variations. Some are hard, some ridiculous, others require serious training to prepare for. Here they are:
The Basic Pushup: Butt flat, chin up, tighten that belly, hands on either side of or below your shoulder line. All the way down all the way up.
One-Handed Pushups: There are many ways to do these. The favored position to start in is with the working hand staggered towards the center of the chest (not necessarily in the center) and the legs spread wide enough to support your body. The exercise requires a lot of core stabilization, so tighten up!
Hindu Pushups: This is the movement of 'up dog' to 'down dog' in yoga sun salutations. Performed correctly, it is easier than the dive-bomber because the hips are used to draw the body back to the starting position.
Divebomber Pushups: The divebomber follows an inverted arc to the 'up dog' position, and reverses through the exact same motion; no hips involved. An advanced and effective pushup.
Fingertip Pushups: These are a great way to increase isometric finger strength, but should be used sparingly. Make sure your fingers are strong enough to handle high volume, and always use in addition to more basic movements.
For the sake of simplifying things, let's just say that anything you do flat, you can do at an angle. Case in point:
Decline Pushups: Elevate your feet on something. A stool, a chair, your dog. Same rules apply, flat back, butt and stomach. Don't let the shoulder blades squeeze towards each other.
**Extreme Declines, better known as Handstand Pushups or Shoulder Presses:
At some angle, the exercise stops affecting your pectoral muscle so much and emphasizes your deltoids. Keep going, you'll know it when you hit it.
Incline Pushups: From counter tops to a low stool, if the upper body is elevated, it's an incline pushup.
Spider/Spiderman Pushups: Do a pushup while bringing one knee up towards your armpit. The body maintains the horizontal plane in this way, while increasing the activation of core stabilizers.
Twisting "T" This is a pushup to an extended arm side plank. Execute the push before you turn all the way to your side. An advanced exercise enhancing balance and strength.
"Rocking" Pushups: Do these from a regular pushup position or a Hindu pushup position. Either way, at the bottom of the movement, rock back to your elbows, then forward as far as you can go, keeping the hands in the same position. Push back up and repeat.
Those are some common pushup variations, but it is by no means an exhaustive list. Ever heard of these?
-Behind the back clapping " "
-Soldier Boy (Saluting) Pushup
-Rabbit Hops (All fours leave the ground)
-Halfway Around the World (One arm travels up in a circle on the ground and back, pushing up and down the whole time)
-Bridge Push Ups (Get in bridge position and do push ups)
-(Preying) Mantis Push Up
-360 Degree Spinning Push Ups
Believe it or not, this list could go on for a while. No doubt it will grow over time. For now, I think a video demonstration of those last two is in order. It is the truly incredible athlete who can execute these:
Do you have a favorite pushup exercise you didn't see here? Feel free to add it to the comments below!
More by this Author
Kettlebells and the TRX suspension trainer are both excellent and effective pieces of equipment. But does one provide a better value than the other? See this comparison to find out.
Plyometric exercise is not just for competitive athletes. Learn what plyometrics are and design a program for your needs. Everyone can benefit from a little jumping around!
A man with a fat torso is at risk for more than the cost of some new pants. Find out how and why you need to slim down your fat torso starting today!