A push-up, right? Easy-peasy. Just do one. 1-2-3.
Not as easy as you think. I’ve watched many people do pushups at the gym thinking they’re doing the right thing, and it takes the patience of every saint in the Roman Catholic Church to keep me from wanting to politely correct their form.
How should you be doing pushups? Follow me into the rabbit hole.
Okay, so start position depends on how strong you are. On your hands with the hands below your shoulders, and either on your toes (or your knees) but make sure your body is one straight line. I cannot emphasize this enough – you should be strong enough to maintain this plank position throughout the pushup.
How should your hands be? Almost as if your thumb was facing 12 o’clock if you had your hands in the middle of a clock. This keeps your shoulders in an externally rotated position and your shoulders from clunking into each other. If you have shoulder injuries or poor shoulder stability (which most people do) you should be doing pushups like this.
Now, lower yourself to the floor. Wait – stop. Not like this:
Your elbows shouldn’t be winging out; they should be close or closer to the body (within 45 degrees) to the body as you come down to the floor. This also keeps your shoulders externally rotated.
How far down do you go? Touch your chest to the ground. Full range of motion is the key here. That’s almost like running a mile to stop at 9 tenths and call it a mile. Be careful to not let your core sag the whole time you are lowering yourself to the ground.
Now it’s time to push-up. Keep your core tight! Your whole body moves as one unit, in one straight line. Don’t look like you’re doing the worm because you’re exhausted… that means you should be doing planks, or practicing these more.
Other things to be aware about:
Wrists – Do you have issues with your wrists? Do they hurt if you do too many pushups with your hands flat on the floor? You can do pushups with your hands in a closed fist position (or get those pushup bars).
Head position – Be careful of your neck position. Don’t look to scope yourself in the mirror if you’re facing the mirror while doing pushups. Keep looking at the floor.
Hand release pushups – these suck for some reason and I don’t know why. At the bottom of a pushup with your chest on the floor, pick your hands up off the floor and then resume your pushing up.
Spider man pushups – while coming down to the floor, you’re doing a pseudo-mountain climber, but by picking up your knee out to the side up towards your elbow.
Clapping pushups – start from the bottom, push up, clap, put your hands back down. Now you’re there. Two claps? Boss. Three claps? Legendary. Try not to eat it.
Medicine ball pushups – do them on an unstable surface (BOSU ball), with one hand on a medicine ball, with both hands on an exercise ball, with your feet on an exercise ball.
Get creative, do some pushups,