Your push up should be like a moving plank; you want to be connected from your fingertips, all the way to your toes! Pictured here, myself and my business partner Paluna Santamaria. For a week of great training and movement tips, join us a we co-lead the Adaptation Fitness Urban Retreat at Academy of Lions, June 1st-5th 2015. Info available here https://smallbutmighty.squarespace.com/shop/adaptation-fitness-urban-retreat
The Push up is a great exercise for building upper body strength. Despite its simplicity, there are many ways to do this exercise incorrectly. Here are few tips to help make your push-up as efficient as possible:
- Start your set up by getting into a tabletop position. Roll your shoulder blades down and back, like you're trying to put them in your back pocket. From here, move into a high plank so your abs are tight and your shoulders are stacked over your wrists.
- Press into the floor, like you're trying to push it away from you as you lower yourself towards the ground. Remember to keep your shoulders away from your ears. Keep your spine long by reaching the crown of your head towards a far wall.
- Move though a full range of motion by touching your chest to the floor.
- Keep your elbows tucked tightly into your sides as you push up from the floor; avoid letting them flare our to the side.
Here are some modifications you can try to make the push up a little easier. If you're not getting your chest all the way to the ground, its time to try one of these regressions so you can build strength through the full range of motion, and work up to the full push up:
- Drop your knees to the ground: Remember, you want to maintain a connected, plank position. Don't let your bum come up into a plank position.
- Elevate your hands on a box: The higher the box is, the easier the push up will be. Remember to keep your shoulders stacked over your wrist. If you don't have a box, use a bench, or a squat rack with the bar set up in a stable position.
- You can also alternate the muscles you recruit by changing up your hand position between sets. If you keep your hands tight to your torso, you'll have greater recruitment of your triceps (arms). If you move your hands further apart, you'll have greater recruitment of your pec muscles (Chest).
If you're able to move through the full range of motion for at least 15-20 reps, and want to try something a little more challenging:
- Lift one foot off of the ground
- Elevate your feet on a medicine ball or box
- Try a 1&1/2 push up
I hope this helps friends! Get out there and get pushing! Don't forget to check out the Adaptation Fitness Urban Retreat!