BODY WATCH : Don't Dismiss Pushups Just Yet


Long before Nautilus became a household word, another Greek term-- calisthenics-- represented a do-it-yourself mode of physical self-improvement. Exercises such as pushups, sit-ups and jumping jacks were the simple, if not easy, standard.

Are they still worth doing?

Absolutely, says Harvey Newton, director of program development for the National Strength and Conditioning Assn.

"For a lot of people, especially those who've been couch-potato types for a period of years, they're probably better off working with their own body weight to begin with," he says.

Among his favorites:

* pushups, whether on hands and toes or hands and knees;

* back extensions;

* lunges;

* partial sit-ups (also called crunches or trunk curls).

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