Bodyweight exercise has recently become all the rage in fitness circles across the globe. But, in reality, it’s been around for many, many years. In fact, how do you think the Greeks and Romans used to train in historic times? They got down on the dirty floor and used their bodies to their fullest potential.
Fast forward through the years and dozens of bodyweight-only exercises evolved to target every major muscle group. Push-ups are some of the most popular ones and suffice it to say, they’re also some of the most badly performed. When you walk into a gym, you don’t have to crane your neck too far forward or to the left to see some nitwit cranking out rep after rep of push-ups with the most grotesque of form.
Impressing chicks might be on his mind, but the only thing he’s going to do is give himself bad posture and maybe a set of sore shoulders to match.
Regardless if you are male or female, there’s a right and wrong way to do push-ups. When you do them accurately and correctly, you will know it. Your muscles will respond by becoming sleek, sexy and strong.
That being said, the correct course of action is for you to learn just how to do them correctly. Then you’ll have no excuses for bad form. And if you still use bad form, you deserve to be made fun of by onlookers!
The Perfect Push-up
Begin with your body in a front-leaning rest position—also known as a plank position. Align your hands directly under your shoulders and place your feet together. Form a straight line from the back of your head to your heels and maintain that line as you do the entire drill.
And just for the record, fix your gaze down at the floor just in front of your body or look slightly straight ahead. You are now in the ready position.
Tighten your core, which means your abs, glutes, lower back muscles and obliques, and slowly lower yourself down by bending your elbows. As you do this, keep your arms in tight by your sides.
DO NOT let your elbows flare outward! That’s the rookie mistake that most people make. By doing this, you place excess strain on your shoulder joints and you do not want any threat dealt out to your connective tissue.
Once your chin touches the floor, push yourself back up in a fluid motion and stop when your arms are fully locked out. Hold for a split second and repeat until you do a series of reps.
Tips and Hints
Another error often performed by neophytes is rushing through sloppy reps of push-ups. You are not in a race and you should never place volume over form. Make sure to go all the way down and all the way up in one graceful motion.
If you can only do five reps with good quality, then do five reps with good quality. Then take a rest and repeat for multiple sets. Always go in the direction of multiple sets with lower reps instead of higher reps and lower sets with poor technique.
And you may be wondering about the chin touching the floor step. Well, again you can learn a lot from history. That is how they were done back in the day and that’s the way you should do them right now and forever thereafter.
If you are not capable of getting your chin on the floor without doing a faceplant, then just go down as close as possible. You can also lay a yoga block flat and let your chest touch it in the beginning.
Then once you develop the strength, aim for your chin. You can also regress by placing your knees on the floor or by placing your hands on an elevated object, such as a weight bench.
With your body in an inclined angle, your leverage point will be different, and you won’t have to push as much of your own weight up. Certain individuals would call these sissy push-ups or girl push-ups. But they’re the REAL sissies! These are nothing more than modified push-ups.
Breath control is super important with push-ups, and all exercises for that matter. Yet it is one of the most overlooked aspects of training in the world. If you get your breathing right, everything else will flow like melted chocolate in a fondue pot.
So, here’s how it’s going down. As you lower yourself in a push-up, take a big inhale. Then exhale the entire time you push yourself back up. Repeat this sequence with every rep.
The take-home message here is to exhale on the exertion of force. That happens when you push yourself up.
You are now equipped to look like a champ and feel like a boss through the medium of push-ups. Practice them regularly and make sure to follow the form points dealt out to you. If you think you might be doing them wrong, you might be right.
Try to get in front of a mirror or take a video of yourself and analyze it as you review the steps from above for proper form. But when it’s all said and done, remember to always honor your body and know your limitations.