Building your fitness level in strength and endurance is essential in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Why is there a big emphasis on push ups and pull ups? First, you can do these workouts at home, work, at the park, and just about anywhere. Secondly, the two workouts target multiple muscle groups:


Credit: http://www.md-health.com/What-Muscles-Do-Push-Ups-Work.html
Credit: http://www.md-health.com/What-Muscles-Do-Push-Ups-Work.html

-Pull Ups:

Credit: http://pullupbar-chinupbar.com/articles/muscles-worked-in-a-pull-up/
Credit: http://pullupbar-chinupbar.com/articles/muscles-worked-in-a-pull-up/


The Basic Push Up

Photo By: Cpl. Devin Nichols
Photo By: Cpl. Devin Nichols

Upper muscular endurance is part of just about every training workout…with pushups as the main focus. Here are the keys to the perfect push up:

  • Keep your hands directly under your shoulders (slightly wider than shoulder length apart)
  • Extend your lets and your toes straight to the floor to balance the lower part of your body
  • Keep your back straight! Don’t stick your butt up in the air or bend your knees. Your body has to be flat from beginning to end.
  • Lower your body down (back flat) til your elbows and upper arms form around a 45-degree angle with the ground. Make sure to keep your elbows tight to the body.
  • Exhale when pushing your body back up while focusing on your core and posture.
  • Repeat the process.

If struggling, start with your knees on the ground instead of your feet to push up less weight.

Here are some other forms for those willing to go the extra mile:

2) The Pull Up / Chin Up

The Pull Up
Credit: Thomas Tolstrup / Getty Images


Another basic exercise for most military physical fitness tests is the pull up.  With pushups engaging and targeting your chest muscles, the pull up focuses on the biceps, triceps, and upper back. Here are some basic rules:

  • Start from the dead hang keeping your arms extended every time you lower yourself. Don’t cheat yourself by going half way. Go all the way to a full arm extension to get the full workout.
  • Don’t swing (kip) when doing the pull ups. Remember that the range of motion is to go up and down, not forward and backward. This produces bad form and less progress.
  • Doing pull ups or chin ups (under or overhand grips) is dependent on which muscles to focus on. Get a feel for what your body needs on determining the width of your hands on the bar. Typically, a little over shoulder width apart is the general rule.