Push-ups can be a great addition to any workout and can give you toned upper body muscles. However, many individuals struggle with the proper form of a push-up. Because of this, we have dedicated a full post to help you improve your push-ups.
In this article we are going to go over 5 tips to help you do push-ups with proper form. Afterward we are going to go over a few push-up variations that will help you step up your upper body workouts.
Proper Push-Up Form
- Keep your neck and spine in a neutral position. By doing this you will not only avoid placing unwanted stress on your spine and neck, but you will also be placing the emphasis on the muscles that should be worked during the push-up.
- Draw your elbows in as you lower your body. This will help you prevent shoulder injury by avoiding the placement of excess stress on the shoulder joint. When lowering yourself down, imagine you have a grapefruit in between your lats and upper arms that you are trying to keep in place. This will keep your elbows moving in the proper motion.
- Use full range of motion. This is where many individuals go wrong. Full range of motion includes touching your chest at the bottom of the movement and fully extending your arms at the top. This will ensure that you are strengthening the muscle through the full range of motion as well.
- Keep your legs and upper body inline. Avoid dropping your but down or raising it too far up. This will force you to keep your muscles throughout your entire body tight as we will be discussed in point number 5.
- Tighten the muscles throughout your entire body. During the push-up, you are not only working your chest and triceps, but you are also required to use stabilizer muscles throughout your entire body. Because of this, you should also focus on keeping the muscles of your core and lower body activated as well.
Once you have the proper form down, you can step up your pushup workout by using the variations below:
Single Leg Push-Ups
This variation will help you further develop the stabilizer muscles involved in the pushup. Single leg push-ups are done by lifting one leg up at a time while performing the push-up. This can be done in two different sets or by alternating legs on each rep.
Alternating push-ups can be done by using either a medicine ball or anything else that is elevated about 6-12 inches off the ground. To perform alternating push-ups place one hand on the ball and do a push-up and then switch hands and do another push-up until you complete a full set.
Exercise Ball Push-Up
Exercise ball push-ups force you to further use your stabilizer muscles during the movement. These are done by placing your feet up on an exercise ball and then performing the pushup as you normally would. If you are really feeling adventurous you can even try single leg push-ups using an exercise ball.
So there you have it, now you know 5 more ways to improve your push-ups. If you have not been using the 5 tips above during your push-ups, it is time to start. This will ensure that you are moving in the right direction and put you on track toward reaching your fitness goals.
Once you get a hang of the proper form it is time to step it up by using the variations above or by using any other variations you can think up. These tips are also important to remember during your pushups as part or our IdealShape Up Challenge.
By Wes Young