You never have to do an exercise that makes you uncomfortable. If you do not enjoy pushups because you feel pain or worry that you will smash your nose into the floor, there are other exercises that will strengthen your upper body. The chest-, triceps- and shoulder-strengthening exercises that you can perform with dumbbells, a resistance band or an exercise machine work the same muscles as pushups -- and none of them involve lying face down on the floor.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Lie face up on a bench or on an exercise ball. Bend your knees to protect your back and place your feet flat on the floor. Rest your upper back and head on the ball, if using one.
Position your hands near your shoulders with your palms facing toward your legs. Bend and lower your elbows beneath your shoulders.
Exhale and straighten your arms toward the ceiling. Keep a slight bend in your elbows. Position your hands shoulder-width apart.
Inhale, bend your elbows and slowly lower the dumbbells to the starting position.
Complete eight to 12 repetitions. Rest for 60 seconds and repeat.
Place the center of a resistance band against the middle of your back. Let the band pass underneath your armpits and then hold on to an end in each hand.
Bend your elbows and raise them to shoulder height so your arms are at a 90-degree angle. Face your palms toward the floor.
Exhale and straighten your arms to the front. Inhale, bend your elbows and return to the starting position.
Aim to complete eight to 12 repetitions. Take up the slack in the band by grasping the band closer to the center if you don't feel enough resistance to make the exercise challenging.
Sit on the seat pad of a chest press machine with your back resting against the back pad. Adjust the height of the seat so the handles are in line with the center of your chest. Set the handle depth so they rest near the front of your chest. In other words, you should not have to reach too far to your sides to grasp the handles.
Select a resistance amount that allows you to complete at least eight but no more than 12 reperitions. Position your elbows in line with your shoulders and hands. Face your palms down.
Exhale, straighten your elbows and push the handles forward. Inhale, bend your elbows and return to the starting position. Keep the weights you are lifting from touching the remaining weight stack to provide tension on your muscles.
- Use a resistance amount that is challenging enough that when you reach the final two repetitions, you are tired. Maintain your breathing throughout the exercises to avoid increasing your blood pressure.
- Speak with your physician about the safety of strength training for you.
A mother of two and passionate fitness presenter, Lisa M. Wolfe had her first fitness article published in 2001. She is the author of six fitness books and holds an Associate of Arts in exercise science from Oakland Community College. When not writing, Wolfe is hula-hooping, kayaking, walking or cycling.