Believe it or not, exercises that involve pushing or pressing your palms against a stationary object, or even against each other, can be effective in strengthening your upper-body. This type of exercise is referred to as isometrics -- you exert force against an object and hold the muscle contraction without any movement. Although this form of exercise doesn't build muscle, it helps maintain muscle strength, according to Edward Laskowski, M.D., from Mayo Clinic.com. The best part of a palm-pushing workout is that no special equipment is needed and you can work out anywhere -- at home, at the office and even while traveling.
Perform a quick five-minute warm-up first. This helps get your blood flowing, improves your flexibility and allows you to get the most out of the exercises. Ride a stationary bicycle, work on an elliptical trainer, jump rope or jog in place.
Perform palm presses to start your workout. This exercise can help keep your pecs perky. Put your palms together and hold your hands in front of your chest with your elbows flared out to the sides -- as if you're praying. Push your palms together as hard as you can. Hold the pressure five to 10 seconds, relax and repeat. The more you do the exercise, the longer you'll be able to hold the pressure. Work your way up to 30-second holds.
Move to a door frame to continue your workout. Stand within the frame with each shoulder pointing toward one side of the frame. The sides of the door frame should be close enough so you can reach both sides. Place your palms, shoulder high, on the frame. Push with your hands as if you are trying to push the frame apart and make it wider. Hold the push for 10 seconds, relax and repeat.
Stay standing within the door frame for the next exercise. Extend your arms overhead and place your palms against the underneath side of the frame. Push up against the frame as if you are pushing yourself away from it. Hold the push 10 seconds, relax and repeat.
Reposition yourself to continue your workout and target your shoulders. Stand outside the door frame and face the right side of the frame. Bend your left elbow 90 degrees and place your palm flat against the inside of the frame. Push your palm against the frame as hard as you can and hold the push five to 10 seconds. Relax and repeat. Move to your left and face the left side of the door frame. Use the same technique and push with your right hand.
End your workout with a palm-pushing exercise for your upper arms. First work your biceps, the muscles at the front of your upper arms. Sit at a heavy table or desk. Bend your elbows 90 degrees and slide your hands, palms up, underneath the edge of the table. Push up as if you are trying to lift the table. Hold the push for a count of 10, relax and repeat. Next, place your hands, palms down, on top of the table. Push down as hard as you can, hold the push for a count of 10, relax and repeat.
- Start with one set of 10 to 12 pushes with each exercise and work up to two sets.
- Isometric exercises can increase your blood pressure, according to Dr. Laskowski. If you have high blood pressure or other heart concerns, get the approval from your doctor before doing the exercises.