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Doing the Perfect Push-up

Could the push-up be the "perfect exercise"? Here's what it can do for you, and how to get it right.
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The Perfect Push-up: How-to's for Beginners continued...

One option is to use a low bench to prop up your arms, and then do either a regular push-up or the knees-on-the-floor version, Bottesch says.

"If you put your feet on the floor and put your hands on the bench, you can work on getting the body form right with much less strain," she says.

If even a kneeling push-up with a bench is too tough for you, there's an even easier way to begin.

You don't have to lie down at all, Ross tells WebMD. Instead, do your push-ups standing against the wall, which dramatically reduces the pressure on arms and upper back. To make it simpler still, stand closer to the wall.

"With your feet very close to the wall, there is almost no strain, but it still allows you to keep your body in alignment so you get a real sense of how it should feel," says Ross. As you gain strength, keep moving your feet further away until you feel confident enough to try push-ups on the floor.

The Perfect Push-up Gadgets: What Works

Although the push-up doesn't require any equipment at all, that doesn't mean it hasn't found its way into a late-night infomercial or two. There are a variety of push-up gadgets on the market, designed to put variety into your routine. Most are based on some of type of handle you hang on to during the exercise -- and it might surprise you to learn that experts say they can work.

"They provide variation in your workout, plus the basic handle design is especially good for anyone who has an issue with keeping their wrists fully extended," says Ross.

Taking the handle concept a step further are devices like the one called the "Perfect Pushup," which incorporate a swiveling action. By rotating the arms while lifting the body, you may be able to increase your range of motion, which in turn increases benefits, Schlifstein says.

Even without gadgets, experts say, you can put variety into your push-up routine by changing up your positions. For example, there's the one-handed push-up, though experts say it's not for the faint of heart.

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