Trainer Tip of the Week – Are you doing a push-up correctly?
The push-up is one of the most fundamental, and best exercises to build upper body strength. However, even though it is a common exercise, I still see it performed incorrectly. Did you know that if the push-up is done correctly that you also engage your core and lower body? Here I am going to go through how to do a push-up correctly, and different variations so that whether you are a beginner or an elite athlete, you can be challenged and feel successful. First and foremost you want to have a proper set up which is the plank position with your hands on the floor (if this hurts your wrist, put a pair of dumbbells on the ground). In a proper plank position, you want your hands to be right about shoulder width apart. Next, imagine a straight line from the middle finger on your left hand to the middle finger on your right hand. You want the center of your chest to be directly over that imaginary line. After your hands are in proper position, lift your knees up off the ground. There should be a straight line from your ears all the way through your heels. Important to note as well that you should never fully lock out your elbows. During a plank, your core should be engaged, and your quads (big muscle in the front of the leg between your hip and knee) should be flexed. Once you are in plank position, lower your body to the ground until your elbows are even with your shoulders, then press through your palms and flex the chest all the way back up into your starting plank position. If performed correctly, the main muscles working are your chest, triceps, and shoulders, and there should always be that straight line from your ears through your heels. However, trying to perform a push-up this way can be too challenging for some. If that is the case, you certainly have options! One option is to do them on your knees. A push-up on the knees is the exact same, except your knees are on the ground instead of your toes. Instead of a straight line from the ears through the heels, imagine a straight line from your ears through your knees. Another option is to do it standing up against a wall. For some, a standard push-up isn’t challenging enough. There are numerous options for you if that’s the case. Try lifting one leg in the air as you perform your push-up, or as you come up you can try bringing your hands off the ground to work on power and explosiveness. Try adding in push-ups to your routine so you can build a strong upper body!