When it comes to push-ups I have seen it all, ‘the snake’, ‘the floor hump’, ‘the stripper butt-lift’, ‘the chicken feeding’, ‘the half-rep master’ the list goes on. Chances are that those examples of poor technique stem from a lack of knowledge and/or a lack of strength. The push-up is one of the best exercises around, they require no equipment, can be performed just about anywhere, there are numerous variations and they are excellent for building body tension.
When it comes to proper technique, it’s important to recognise that a push-up is not just about the chest and arms, the whole body needs to be working!
Here are some things to remember when setting up for a push up:
- Wrists under shoulders, palms flat and hands neutral or turned very slightly out
- Imagine the body as one straight, rigid line from your head to you heels
- Tuck your pelvis under and tighten your glutes, squeezing your thighs together
- In the bottom position your chest should touch the ground and there should be a slight gap between your hips and the ground.
- Head neutral, chin tucked slightly into the chest, eyes focus slightly in front of you
- Elbows should stay relatively close to your body
- Everything moves in unison, i.e. the butt does not lift before the chest, vice-versa
You should be able to measure your progression by having some form of standard. Every rep should have the same form. If you have not yet got the strength to go all the way chest to the floor rather than sacrificing form, scale back.
Some progressions you can follow:
- On your toes but reduce the distance to the ground by placing something under your chest
- Place your hands on a bench or raised surface so that you are on an incline
- Drop down to your knees, chest to the floor
- On your knees, again reduce the distance by placing something under your chest