Take a second and think about the most common exercises you do when working out by yourself at the gym. You probably tend to stick to the movements that feel most natural in your body, like squats, lunges, or sit-ups. But Joel Freeman, Beachbody super trainer and cocreator of Core De Force, wants you to include one more bodyweight exercise in your routine, especially if you’re trying to shed fat: the classic push-up.
“I see so many people, women especially, shy away from push-ups,” Joel told POPSUGAR. Many women tell him they want to just “work their legs, their booty, and their core.” But here’s Joel’s response: “You have to work everything, and you have to be strong!”
By just “learning to push your body weight in a push-up,” Joel said you can develop a lot of strength in the upper body. And that’s exactly what will help you shed fat and create definition across your chest, arms, and shoulders, which will help all that beautiful muscle shine through.
Joel recommended mastering a couple different varieties of push-ups. He told us, “There’s one that’s called the sphinx blaster, which really isolates the chest and triceps and shoulders, so it’s a really big challenging move. But once we see people get it, they’re so proud.”
For the sphinx push-up, you start in normal plank position (you can start on your knees if you need to modify) and then slowly lower down, bringing your forearms to the floor — at the same time! — in one smooth motion. Don’t think of it as bringing one elbow down at a time; rather, you’re lowering both forearms all the way to floor. It requires a lot of core strength as well, so you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck.