This exercise provided courtesy of Mike Clausen, founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006.
The push-up is endlessly versatile, and can be modified to meet almost any of your upper body needs. Here, a slight modification in position will redirect the push-up from focusing on the chest to targeting your lats—although, like all push-ups, it will still work your core and chest.
Back (lats), Chest, Core
Take a push-up, or plank, position on the floor, with arms extended, hands under shoulders, legs straight, hips flat, and center engaged. Now, move your hands to the side a few inches, such that your hands are wider than your shoulders (see Photo 1).
- From the starting position, lower your chest toward the floor in a push-up, keeping your center engaged so that your hips neither droop nor pike upward. As you lower your chest, keep your back broad even as you bring your shoulder blades together. Try to develop the feeling that you are suspended from above, through your shoulder blades, rather than pushing against your hands. Come all the way down, until your chin nearly touches the floor (see Photos 2 and 3).
- From the bottom of your push-up, press back up to the starting position, keeping your body in a straight line throughout (see Photos 4 and 5).