Can You Get Fit With Just Pushups, Pull-Ups, and Squats?


Home exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, and squats offer a relatively simple solution to work out without the need to pay exorbitant gym membership fees or use complicated, specialized equipment. They are easy to perform and can be done anywhere. But are they effective in helping you get in shape?

You can get fit with just push-ups, pull-ups, and squats. They are low impact exercises that can help you achieve a fit and healthy body. A combination of these exercises works all body muscles, including cardiovascular muscles when they are done the right way.

In the rest of this article, you’ll learn more about how only push-ups, pull-ups, and squats can help you attain your desired fitness level. You will also get to know how to perform these exercises and work different muscles in your body.

What Is the Effect of the Push-Up-Pull-Up-Squat Workout Routine?

The push-up-pull-up-squat workout routine works on all the muscles in your body. The pain that comes with combining these exercises, sparing no part, is a testament to that. Push-ups focus on working your chest (upper, mid, and lower), front shoulders, triceps, biceps, and core.

Pull-ups work your lats (the big sides of your back), traps, mid-back, mid and rear shoulders, biceps, and core.

Squats majorly target the lower body. They work the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and core. Squats also work your calves to an extent.

These exercises, on their own, work different muscle groups, and large ones at that. As a result, they are considered important exercises in any workout program. Combining them will leave no muscle group in your body untouched. 

The exciting part is that these exercises can be done with different variations to change things when you begin to get used to them. 

Your muscle groups will have tiny tears after each workout. These cuts are a result of the contraction and relaxation of the muscle tissues. During rest, your body produces growth hormones and other hormones that help to heal the tears. This tear and healing process increases your muscle mass over time.

For instance, during a push-up session, your chest and triceps muscles are the most worked muscle groups. You experience soreness in these muscle groups as a result of the tear. During your recovery time, especially at night when you’re sleeping, your body repairs the damage to your muscles. 

Continuous tear and repair of these muscle groups increase the muscle size and mass of that body part. 

How to Perform the Push-Up-Pull-Up-Squat Routine

To get the best from these exercises in a workout routine, they should be combined. However, before you do so, you need to know how to perform the individual exercises using the right form and avoid injuries.

Push-Ups

Push-up is the most common home exercise. Its popularity is partly due to its effectiveness and easy execution. Because of its simplicity, many people perform this exercise the wrong way. Maintaining the right form from start to finish is important to get the best out of the exercise.

Set yourself up on all fours. With your palm and toes resting on the floor, place your hands a little more than shoulder-width apart.

Ensure your torso is parallel to the floor, and your abdomen is tucked in. Maintain this position throughout this exercise.

Lower your body against the floor with your elbows flaring out a little bit. Pause when your elbows form a 90-degree angle.

Inhale as you descend and exhale as you push back up to your starting position. 

This is the regular push-up position. For the different push-up variations, your hands may need to come closer or be elevated. Your feet may also need to be elevated to change things up.

Pull-Ups

Pull-ups are better executed using a pull-up bar. However, you can do this exercise using any structure with two posts (vertical supports) and a beam (horizontal support). To perform this exercise, follow these steps:

Grab the bar or beam with both hands.

Adjust your hand width to slightly more than shoulder-width.

Pull yourself up with your arms towards the bar or beam. Ensure that your core is kept tight and maintain it throughout the exercise

Pause when your face is at the same level as the bar or beam.

Descend to your starting position and repeat the movement.

Note: Inhale when you ascend and exhale when you descend.

Squats

This dreaded exercise (we’re not trying to scare you) is one that can lead to a back injury, especially when done with weights the wrong way. Here’s how to execute it properly:

Place your feet shoulder-width apart or lesser.

Keep your shoulders square and maintain a straight back.

Place your hands behind your head or stretch them in front of you.

Engage your core and maintain that engagement throughout the exercise.

Descend towards the floor, keeping your back as straight as possible during the descent.

Pause when your hamstrings are parallel to the floor.

Return to the starting position and repeat the movement. 

Push-Up-Pull-Up-Squat Workout Variations You Can Try

Push-ups can be done in several different ways. The common ones include incline push-up, decline push-up, diamond push-up, and many more. These variations put emphasis on different muscle classes. The incline push-up, for instance, works emphatically on the upper chest. The diamond push-up targets the triceps majorly.

Pull-ups, like push-ups, have several variations. The truth is, you can’t do them all. However, you can try some of them. Some common pull-up variations include L-sit pull-ups, behind-the-neck pull-ups, typewriter pull-ups, In-and-out pull-ups, and many more.

Squats, however, do not have as many variations as push-ups and pull-ups. Variations that exist with squats usually involve variations in leg width. Wider leg width squats are called Sumo squats. Squats done with weight held in front of you with both hands is called the goblet squat.

Get the Best Out of Your Push-Ups, Pull-Ups, and Squats

As standalone exercises, push-ups, squats, and pull-ups are excellent in attaining fitness regardless of your fitness level. However, when it seems like you’re reaching a fitness plateau, and need to challenge your body more, consider using all three exercises in a circuit.

You can do push-ups for four sets, squats for four sets, and pull-ups for four sets. The exercise variations and the number of reps you can do will depend on your level of fitness. For a beginner, a range of 4 to 8 reps will suffice. 

High reps can help you build muscle. To target muscle growth, perform 6 to 12 reps. If you find 12 reps too easy to do, increase the resistance, and use a different variation.

It’s always a good idea to do some stretches or light cardio before performing your push-up-pull-up-workout routine. Ensure you use the right technique for each exercise to work the targeted muscles to the max and reduce injuries as much as possible. If you’re not sure, seek advice from a trainer to ensure you’re doing your exercises the right way.

What About Cardio?

These exercises may surprisingly make you go out of breath as a beginner. However, to condition your cardiovascular muscles with these same exercises, use them as part of a High-Intensity Interval Training workout.

Conclusion

Regardless of your fitness level, no muscle group in your body must be left to lag. As compound exercises, push-ups, pull-ups, and squats target large muscle groups, burn large numbers of calories, and eliminate the possible lag that might occur with isolation exercises.

While these exercises are excellent in strength and endurance training, form and quantity are important. Start with the traditional push-ups, pull-ups, and squats. As you build more strength, try more difficult and advanced variations. 

Sources

abel

Retired Athlete, Retired Personal Trainer, Retired University Teacher, Retired Sales Manager...

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