When you do it properly, a push-up is an effective upper body and core strength builder. But what if we told you that you’ve probably been doing them wrong for years? There are nine steps to the perfect push-up (yes, nine!), and Andrew is here today to detail each one so you can get the most out of this simple exercise. Technique is everything.
Step one: Screw your hands into the floor
How to do it: Grip the floor with your hands and simultaneously drive your palms down and twist them as if you were trying to rip the floor between them. Your elbows and biceps should rotate so that your biceps face forward.
Step two: Keep your neck in line with your spine
How to do it: Don’t tuck your chin or look straight out in front of you (like the guy in this picture!). Instead, pick a spot on the floor about 6 to 10 inches in front of your fingers and keep your eyes focused on it as you perform the movement. This should keep your neck in a straight line with the rest of your body.
Step three: Draw your shoulders back
How to do it: Pull your shoulders down and away from your ears and toward your feet. Then engage your back muscles by trying to draw your shoulder blades together so they meet in the middle.
Step four: Pull your palms to your toes
How to do it: After your upper body is fully in position, try to pull your hands towards your feet by clenching your core.
Step five: Clench your glutes
How to do it: Get into a push-up position with your glutes relaxed. Feel how your lower back is being pulled towards the floor? Now squeeze your glutes as hard as possible to feel your hips rotate into place and remove the stress from your spine.
Step six: Pull your feet together
How to do it: Make sure your feet are touching. Then press them together by pretending like you’re trying to crack a nut between your ankles, drawing your ankles as close as possible to each other. You should feel the muscles in your legs activate and tense.
Step seven: Inhale down, exhale up
How to do it: As you lower towards the ground, take a deep breath in. As you push up, quickly exhale as much air as possible. Repeat with every repetition during slow and controlled sets.
Step eight: Pull your chest to the floor
How it works: Get into a solid push-up position. As you lower, focus on using your lats and upper back to control your downward movement as if you’re pulling yourself towards the floor.
Step nine: Lift the body as one solid unit
How it works: Do not let any muscles relax at the bottom of your push-up. Keep everything tight and imagine yourself as a solid tabletop hinging at the feet upwards from the floor.
It may take some practice, but don’t give up! Remember – it’s better to perform one perfect push-up than ten shoddy push-ups. Want some help? Talk to Andrew – first consultation is always free.