Last week I talked about why push-ups are awesome—this week, we’re looking at how to do a good-form push-up!
How to perform a great push-up in four steps (using good form!):
1) Choose a good setting.
You want enough floor space that you can stretch out and not get obstructed by other objects and furniture in the area. The surface you do your push-up on should also have enough traction that you don’t slip and slide, and be comfortable enough that you don’t hurt your wrists or toes (a yoga mat is a good option, for example).
One last thing to keep in mind is to do your push-up in front of a mirror, if at all possible. It can be really useful to have a mirror beside you so that you can check your form.
2) Settle into position.
Get down on your mat, and hold yourself up on your toes and hands. Your hands should be directly beneath your shoulders, and your toes should be directly beneath your heels.
You want a nice straight line from your head to your heels, so ensure that your head is held at a neutral position, looking down slightly (don’t crane your neck or put too much pressure on it), and that your bottom isn’t sagging down or sticking up (again, this is where a mirror can come in handy!).
3) Slowly lower yourself down.
Your elbows should move out to the side for a classic push up as you lower yourself down (if you’re doing a triceps push-up, your elbows should move straight backwards).
Be careful that the nice straight line of your body doesn’t shift! Keep that straight line—no sagging or sticking up—as you lower yourself. You’ll notice that your abs play a big role in the push-up; keep those muscles contracted and secure to help your back remain flat and prevent injuring it.
4) Slowly raise yourself up.
Perform the opposite motion, pushing yourself up until your elbows are straight again, not letting the straight line of your back curve up or down. Also remember that the slow component of this step and step #3 is really important: you’ll be able to really work all your muscles and prevent injury by going slowly.
And that’s it! Start with three or four push-ups in a row if you aren’t used to them. As you get stronger, try to do more in a row.
If you are accustomed to doing push-ups on your knees rather than your toes, and you’re concerned that your upper body isn’t strong enough to do them on your toes, don’t worry! Push-ups are much more about abs strength than you would expect (and, as Roy commented last week, they are an amazing exercise for the abs).
Your shoulders and arms will get stronger over time, too—when you know how to perform a great push-up and you do them regularly, your entire body will get stronger and fitter. Give push-ups on your toes a try!
Do you have any other tips for doing a good-form push-up? Are you a push-up fan? What’s your favorite type of exercise? Are there any exercises you’d like tips for? Share in the comments section below!
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