The push-up may be the simplest exercise ever invented. However, the benefits of doing this basic exercise can be huge.
There are numerous variations of the push-up that allow you to focus on different muscle groups. A standard push-up begins with your body horizontal to the ground and your arms locked out in front of you. Position your hands slightly wider than shoulder length. Extend your legs behind you and stay up on your toes. Now lower yourself toward the floor while maintaining a straight line from the top of your head to your feet. When you have reach the lowest position possible without touching the floor, push yourself back up (hence, the name), then repeat.
Placing your hands at different widths will force secondary muscles groups to work harder. For example, a narrow placement of the hands will not only strengthen your back, it will give your triceps a workout. Widen your hand placement and your chest muscles will be brought into play [source: Men's Health]. No matter how you do it, this old-guard workout is a must for those seeking a ripped back.