Push-ups are viewed one of the most basic exercises, but without proper form, you risk injury. Here are the basic elements of push-up form.
No matter what type of workout you do, there are push-ups involved. From CrossFit to yoga, there are different styles of push-ups to go with every type of exercise. But everyone is familiar with the tried and true, classic push-up. It’s used in strength tests, military training, and in all kinds of workouts. It’s a total-body movement that builds strong muscles in the chest and upper body, while also working your core, quads, arms, and even glutes! However, without proper form, you can actually cause injury rather than build muscle.
There are two ways to do push-ups: on your knees or on your toes. Doing push-ups from the knees is the easier modification, and recommended if doing a full push-up from the toes is too difficult. Most beginners start with these types of push-ups, and then work up to push-ups from the toes. So let’s go over form!
As you can see, there are a lot of difference between these two pictures. On the top, you’ll see that my hips are pushed back. This is the first and most common mistake people make when doing push-ups on the knees. When your hips are pushed back, the tension goes into your shoulders, your core isn’t working, and it also takes away most of the tension from this movement. By rolling your hips through, you engage your core and work the chest muscles. Form a straight line from your knees up to the top of your head and squeeze your abs. Place the hands slightly wider than shoulder width and keep your elbows closer to your body so that they don’t flare out to the sides.
Related Post: 5 New Ways To Do a Push Up
From the toes, we often see a lot of the same mistakes made when doing a modified push-up. But, thankfully these are easily remedied!
First things first- make sure your body is in a straight line! Here we see the lower back dipping down. As I like to say, “no mountains, no valleys!” Form a straight line from your shoulders through your heels, being careful not to pike your hips up, and engage core your core so that your lower back doesn’t curve down. This is how push-ups work your abs! Draw your bellybutton in towards your spine and hold a neutral spine position, meaning your back, neck and head are all in alignment. When your head drops down or arches up, you can experience pain in your neck. We don’t want that! Lastly, watch those elbows– keep them close to your body as your lower down.
Now that you know proper push-up form, it’s time to drop and give me 20! If you’re already a pro, check out this video from Steve Pfiester on more push-up variations!