Push ups are a common exercise that everyone should master.
When performed properly, the push-up is excellent for sculpting arms, and strengthening the chest, and commonly overlooked: toning and strengthening your core!
Proper push-up form
- Position your hands slightly wider than your shoulders with your index fingers pointed straight ahead.
- Look down in between your palms to keep your neck in neutral
- Engage your core by drawing your navel deep toward your spine.
- Maintain a neutral spine and lower your body until your shoulders are level with your elbows and squeeze your abs even deeper as you push up.
- Tip for finding a neutral spine: place a dowel rod along your spine. It should touch 3 places:
- Back of your head
- In between your shoulder blades
- While maintaining about a hands-width space between the stick and your low back.
- Placing hands too close and allowing the elbows to flare out to the side.
- Reaching with your neck instead of keeping a neutral neck and lowering your body.
- Shallow push-ups instead of full range.
- Hyper-extending your low back or allowing your hips/low back to cave in toward the floor.
If you are unable to perform 3 sets of 10 perfect push-ups on the floor, modify your push ups. You will build strength quicker. Instead of the common modifications of dropping your knees to the floor, stay on your toes and elevate your hands to a bench and push from there. As you get stronger, lower the level of the surface you are pushing from until you reach the floor.
*Once you can perform 3 sets of 10 perfect pushups, you can begin modifying and progressing your push-ups through tempo, hand placement and leg instability, etc.