Push-ups are an excellent exercise for strengthening your triceps and pectoral muscles. Part of their popularity stems from the fact that people on all fitness levels can benefit from them and also, you don’t need equipment. However, just like any exercise, you need to know how to execute it flawlessly to protect yourself from injury and ensure you reap the maximum rewards.
This post offers tips and tricks to execute the perfect push-ups, so stick around.
Benefits of Push-ups
There are many reasons why push-ups are popular. Here are a few of the outstanding benefits.
- Strengthens and stabilizes the core – You do a proper push-up with your core straight. It ensures the core muscles are pushed to their limit, thus strengthening them.
- Improved heart health – Push-ups increase your heart rate, strengthen your heart muscles, and make you less prone to cardiovascular diseases.
- Increases flexibility – Push-ups improve your flexibility because they require a full range of motion to execute successfully.
Mistakes to Avoid When Doing a Push-Up
Push-ups are an excellent exercise; however, you must have the correct form, which is quite hard for beginners.
Below are a few mistakes you should try and avoid.
- Going too fast – While going fast gives you the illusion that you are about to finish your reps, it’s also detrimental. You risk not engaging the right muscles and also getting injured.
- Partly lowering the chest – To reap the maximum benefit of a push-up, you are supposed to lower your chest as much as possible. However, ensure that your back is straight, which will help ensure the correct muscles are fully engaged.
- Looking at the front – You are supposed to look down at the floor when performing push-ups. Failure to which you risk injuring or tiring your neck muscles.
- Limiting your range of motion – Push-ups are a great way of increasing your muscle mobility. However, the only way you can reap that benefit is by ensuring you don’t limit your range of motion.
- Not warming-up – While push-ups may seem easy, you must still warm up beforehand. Otherwise, you will be too stiff for the workout increases your chances of injury.
Guide on How to Do Various Push-up Variations
Push-ups are one of the most versatile exercises in that you can do them in several ways depending on which muscle you are targeting and your current fitness level. Below are a few push-up variations and how you can do them.
1. Kneeling Push-Ups
Before attempting a kneeling push-up, it’s imperative to ensure your knees are well protected by wearing knee braces or using a workout mat.
- Kneel on a comfortable surface. It would help if you kneeled on a workout mat.
- Assume a crawling position with your gaze and arms on the floor.
- Stretch your back to be at arm’s length from the ground.
- Using your elbows as a pivot, lower your arms so that your chest is as close as possible to the floor.
- Maintain the above position for around five seconds before reverting.
- Repeat the above steps. For maximum results, ensure you engage your core and not your legs.
2. Wall Push-Ups
A great way to ease into doing push-ups is by using the wall as support.
To do this, follow the steps below:
- After finding a steady wall, stand almost an arm’s length away with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- With your arms shoulder-width apart, place your palms on the wall, then lean forward as though you are going to do a standing plank.
- Using your elbows as a pivot point, bend your arms and lean your upper body towards the wall. Please ensure your feet are still firmly rooted in the ground.
- Maintain the above position for a few seconds and revert.
- Repeat the above steps.
As you get more comfortable with the above steps, you can use one hand instead of two to increase difficulty.
3. Standard Push-Up
Nowadays, there are lots of push-up modifications that one can try out. However, the standard push-up technique still reigns.
Here is how to go about nailing its correct form:
- Get in a crawling position on a comfortable surface to prevent injury.
- Place your hands and feet at shoulder width apart or slightly wider, depending on what makes you comfortable.
- Straighten your back, so your arms are in front of your head.
- Tighten your core and glutes, then bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle as you lower your back towards the floor.
- Hold the above position for a few seconds before reverting.
- Repeat the steps above.
4. Seated Push-Ups
Seated push-ups are great if you want to strengthen your shoulder and arm muscles.
Here is how to go about it:
- Find a chair that will allow you to sit on it while still touching the ground.
- Sit on the chair in question and place your palms on the floor at either side. As for your feet, they should lie flat on the ground with your knees slightly bent.
- While maintaining the sitting position, push down into your palms, then lift your body a few inches off the bench.
- Revert to the starting position, then repeat the steps above.
5. Incline Push-Ups
While incline push-ups require a lot of upper body strength, they are still suitable for beginners.
Here is how to go about it:
- Place your arms on an elevated surface, say a chair
- Stretch your legs back as straight as you can for maximum difficulty
- Bend your elbows as you lower your chest to the chair as far back down as it can go with your back straight.
- Hold the above position before reverting.
Ignorance of the proper push-up technique can make you hate the exercise and increase the chances of injuring your muscles. This article sought to equip you with valuable tips and tricks for correctly doing a push-up. Also, feel free to consult a professional if you have any questions.