Learn the best upper body exercise for dad in an all-level, anywhere, anytime friendly format. 

Father’s Day is the perfect time to appreciate Dad and everything he does for the family.  Unfortunately, just as we highlighted in

our Mother’s Day blog/newsletter, like Mom, Dad can get overwhelmed and leave little to no time for health improving practices.  For this special Father’s Day Newsletter, we are highlighting The Best Upper Body Exercise For Dad  and variations for making this classic exercise 100 times more effective.

Prepare to get rid of the “dad bod,” and find the new, healthier and happier you thanks to simple, yet highly effective training for anytime and anywhere.

Push-ups work every time!

So what is this miracle exercise?  The answer is push-ups.  After hearing this, you may be telling yourself, “I do those all the time so what’s the point of reading on?”  “Or, how can this be the best upper body exercise?”  Let me explain.  Most men do them incorrectly and completely under-utilize the push up.  As a fitness expert and fitness professional, I have witnessed a number of dads making a routine of heavy presses on the bench.

However, when they are called upon to perform push-ups, five to ten repetitions is a major struggle.  Not only that, their form is suspect.  Granted, true push-ups sound like the inferior exercise, but they are actually the more advanced of the two and more functional.  True, strict push-ups require a tremendous amount of upper body and core strength and a more natural range of motion.

In contrast, the bench press is primarily an upper body exercise that receives the aid of a stable bench, which creates a stable platform and a limit on range of motion for the posterior side (basically, a strict push-up can involve the posterior back side (traps, rear delts and teres major and minor) where as a flat bench limits their participation).  Now that that’s clear, learn how can one master push-ups and progress through the array of push-up variations.

[See the full Push-Up Week article and all-level push-up variations here… ]

Getting Started

To begin, critique your own form (If you are having trouble assessing this movement, use a mirror and check out your own side view).  Lower your body until both arms are at a 90 degree bend or slightly lower.  Make sure your hips are neutral and have not sagged to the floor or are piked in the air.  Keeping a strict, rigid core that is in line with the torso is crucial for mastering the best upper body exercise.  While staying in this position, breathe in as you lower and exhale upon pressing upward.  Always try to breathe out with exertion.  Your body will thank you!

If You Can Step It Up, Do So

If you noticed that your upper body strength was shaky, form was out of alignment or you are recovering from an injury, proceed from the knees or a raised bar until push-up form is mastered and 10 to 12 repetitions is a breeze.  From there, one can move on to the strict push-up or resisted push-ups.

This can be with the aid of a small child, resistance bands, or slowing down the pace of the push-up.  As well, placing feet up on an incline or mixing in unstable positions (one foot in the air, knee to the side, medicine ball push-ups etc.) create the perfect variety of chest, core, triceps and shoulder developing movements.  For an all-purpose push-up/total body exercise/conditioning exercise, give the burpee a try.  Ten to twelve burpees will have anyone sweating!

After mastering the push-ups and mixing in variations of the best upper body exercise, note the strength and aesthetic changes that follow.  There’s a reason why all-star athletes Herschel Walker and Shaun Alexander made push-ups and other body weight movements the focus of their strength training program.  They can literally be done anywhere, without equipment and in an efficient and effective manner.

That is why this exercise, along with countless other anywhere exercises are the formula for the best home workouts or traveling workout, Workout Anywhere.  Our program mixes in the best upper body exercise and all of the top body weight, core, plyometric and conditioning exercises, along with hundreds of variations (New workout videos and nutrition plans are posted weekly for busy dads and moms).

Happy Father’s Day!  Remember, even with the weight of the world on your shoulders, a magnitude of commitments and time constraints, Dad still needs to take at least 15 minutes for himself and his health.  Join Workout Anywhere to learn how.

What do you think?

Feel free to comment below and share this article with your friends and family. We would love to hear about your favorite push-up exercises.


Coach Jessica
Coach Jessica

Jessica & Justin Rundle are Spokane natives and the founders of Workout Anywhere (a Northwest fitness training app for busy parents, by busy parents). In addition, the two are the official strength & conditioning coaches for Mt. Spokane High School. To Learn more about Jessica and Justin Rundle, click here: Meet Team RundleFit.

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