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The anatomy of a push-up

The push-up is one of those basic exercises, casually thrown at military cadets as a punishment during their training days, in batches of 100s. In fact, says Dr Raju Easwaran, a sports surgeon, the single-arm push-up (with one arm behind the back) is an important yardstick for most commando training around the world. If you’re not going commando, here’s a guide to doing one and getting yourself toned: “It works almost every muscle in the chest, upper back and arms, but it also helps build the core muscles,” says Dr Easwaran, who is a senior consultant with Max Hospitals in Delhi.

“This do-anywhere body-weight exercise has multiple variants, so it’s versatile enough for you to start with the simple wall push-up, used as a rehabilitation tool by physiotherapists for people recovering from a shoulder injury or surgery,” he says.

You could then progress to placing your arms at a higher level (like a step), or performing it with the knees folded, quads on the ground. When starting off, you may use a push-up handle for stability. Avoid it if you have a rotator cuff problem (the…

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