Today is the second in my series of HOW TO - BODYWEIGHT BASICS and we are looking at the PUSHUP.
As far as bodyweight exercises go, the pushup is definitely one of the hardest but if done properly, will build up your strength fast! Luckily there are also modifications that make it easier to get started....
1. Start in the top position so that your hands are just outside your chest.
2. Brace your whole body so it stays rigid and slowly lower yourself as far towards the ground as you can go while keeping that rigid form. You want to ensure that your shoulders, hips, knees and ankles are all in line (ie. no bending at any of the joints).
3. Ideally you want your elbows facing back rather than out to the side. This makes it a little bit harder initially, but your strength will build up much faster and you'll avoid unnecessary strain on your shoulders.
4. As you push back up, think about bringing your armpits (yes, I said armpits) down towards your hips. It sounds totally weird, but it absolutely works and makes pushing up much easier and stronger.
5. For an easier version, perform them on your knees. Again, ensuring that your body is straight between your shoulders and your knees. The rest of the action is exactly the same.
6. BONUS TIP! Spread your fingers and try to 'rotate them' (just by pushing, not actually rotating them) outwards while pushing up (this helps with the armpits into the hip trick).
7. Oh, and don't forget what I taught you in the How To Squat post about flicking your eyes up and you push back up to the starting position. It makes your STRONGER!!
Common Mistakes To Stay Away From...
- Hips dipping and leading the movement towards the ground - this is very bad for your lower back!
- Wide hand position - this puts unnecessary strain on your shoulders and makes them highly susceptable to injury,
- Jutting the chin forward whilst lowering towards the ground. I've found people inevitably do this without thinking because it feels like they are closer to the ground. Have someone else watch you to see if you are doing it. If you are, concentrate on pulling the chin inwards (you can even pop a tennis ball under your chin and hold it there while you perform the pushup to help correct this).
Once you have mastered the basic or kneeling pushup, you can start adding lots of different variations including:
Close-grip, uneven, decline...
You can make it easier by doing it against a wall or on an incline (hands on a chair or bench)
Or you can incorporate pushups and other bodyweight exercises together:
Burpees, spiderman, T-ups....
The combinations and alternatives are endless....
I hope you enjoyed another HOW TO BODYWEIGHT BASICS.
Please leave a comment below and let me know which exercise you'd like to see explained in detail so you can perform it better. 🙂
P.S. Pick up my latest free workout for your girls - Bringing in the New Year