Push-ups are among the most fundamental exercise you can do. They work your triceps, your shoulders, your chest and your core. Whether you're doing them against the wall, on an incline surface such as a bench or on the floor, they're a key bodyweight move when it comes to building muscle.
Once you've mastered the basic push-up (you can check our how to do a push-up guide for more on this), you might be tempted to try one of the viral challenges making their way round the net, the oldest and most popular being the Bring Sally Up push-up challenge.
Based on the song "Flower" by Moby, the idea is to push yourself up when the singer says "Bring Sally Up" and lower yourself down when you hear "Bring Sally Down". All without touching the floor. The song, which lasts 3 minutes 28 seconds, has long been a test of push-up prowess used by everyone from the military to fitness influencers.
Fitness YouTuber Browney's latest video revolves around this challenge. He threw down the gauntlet to three of his friends and himself – two workout novices and two seasoned fitness pros. They were to do this infamous challenge every day for a month, and see who improved the most in terms of number of reps each day. You can check out the video in full below:
Watch the four-person Bring Sally Up challenge here:
of course, around one week in, all four of the competitors noticed they were doing fewer reps than usual, as they were training the same group of muscles every day, without giving them an opportunity to recover. However, their muscles actually seemed to adapt to the constant rigours by the end of the challenge, leading to an increase in push-up reps across the board.
Doing one of these challenges is a fun way to test your push-up prowess, but it's no substitute for a structured muscle-building regime. After all, you're just doing one move over and over, potentially creating muscular imbalances over time. If you're going to do push-ups often as part of a bodyweight training regime, it's best to mix it up with other moves.
Pull-ups are the natural choice. They're a lot harder than push ups, but they work the opposite sets of muscles – your biceps and back – and all you need is a doorway pull-up bar or set of gymnastic rings to get practising. You can practise regressions, such as "negative" reps in which you jump up to the bar and slowly lower yourself down, to build up to full pull-ups. Our guide on how to do pull-ups has all the answers.
We also recommend trying squats, which work your lower body. If you focus on pushing one day, pulling another day, and your lower-body on a third day, this is called a "split" and will allow the other groups of muscles to heal on your off-days. Simply fuel up with one of our best protein powder for weight loss or best protein powder for women and you'll be good to go.
Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and News Editor at Fit&Well, covering all things exercise and nutrition on the Fit&Well website. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen runner, gym-goer, and infrequent yogi. His top fitness tip? Stretch.
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