Unfortunately, for me, I’ve not been able to take advantage of this super move for about 11 months. Yep, I said 11 months – almost an entire year. I had shoulder surgery last July and have not been able to do a real push-up until last week. Finally . . . . I can do a push-up!! Yoohoo! I will be honest and tell you I’m not cranking out lots of reps here and often drop down to my knees – which is OK, folks! I’m trying to be really smart and build up slowly and really watch my form.
So. . . . this brings me to today’s post. A look at the Perfect Push-up and some of the MANY variations that are out there so anyone of any level can crank out a few.
First of all, take a look at the pic I started with. There’s a lot of engagement in different muscle groups. Look at all the good stuff I’ve been missing out on for all these months!
Secondly, let’s look at how to do it right. That’s the most important thing. Proper form keeps you from abusing your shoulders and not getting the full benefit of the move.
The push-up strengthens the upper body and core while using muscles in the chest, shoulders, triceps, back, and legs. Follow these steps and you’ll have perfect form every time!
- Lower your body down on to the floor with your palms under your shoulders – slightly wider than shoulder width. Keep your feet close together and dig your toes into the floor to stabilize the lower part of your body. Maintain your body flat like a table top and really engage your abs.
- By focusing your eyes about two to three feet in front of you, begin to lower your body keeping your back flat until your chest is nearly touching the floor. It is important that the body remain flat in a straight line throughout the lowering movement. This plank-like position is the beginning and end position during a push-up.
- Keep the elbows close to the body, and draw the shoulder blades back and down. Keep your head facing forward and inhale as you lower yourself. When teaching classes I tell folks to keep their chin off of their chests. This seems to help.
- Exhale as you push to the start position without leaving the ground. The chest and shoulders provide the strength for the push-up. Continue to push up until your arms are almost straightened.
- Repeat the above steps.
- If these are too much for you, begin in the full plank position and lower your knees down right where they are so that your back will remain flat and hands under your shoulders. Keep your abs engaged and you get full benefit of the push-up.
The wider your arms, the better it is for you to execute a successful push-up. Try not to lower your hips during a push-up. If your lower back begins to hurt during a push-up, stop and take a break.
The other beautiful thing about push-ups are the variations that you can do. Here are some below.
I have full push-ups with narrow arms to focus less on chest and more on triceps. I am doing push-ups on my knees. In the third photo I am focusing on triceps by lying flat and lifting my upper body only, while keeping my elbows into my sides. Next, I am doing a one-leg push-up and lastly, an elavated push-up. These are just a few variations so there’s no way you can get bored with all the different ways to do this exercise!
Although, please excuse the hideous choice in clothing and unkempt hair!
Have a GREAT day!