How to do your push-ups, or work towards your first one, safely
OK folks, this blog is timed to assist all of you taking part of this month’s The Push-Up Challenge, as well as those who aren’t but want to get fit enough to be able to do 100 push-ups at a time.
Called the Godfather of Strength Exercises, the humble push-up does require upper-body strength – targeting the deltoids, pectorals, triceps, rhomboids, serratus anterior, abdominals, glutes and legs - with good positioning and form essential to avoid injury.
With that in mind, we thought today would be the perfect time to talk about correct form, while also outlining some of the variations and modifications that those carrying injuries, or anybody new to exercise, can do to build up the strength for push-ups.
As always though, if you are carrying injuries, are pregnant, or are new to exercise, you should always check with a qualified professional such as an Exercise Physiologist before starting. You can learn more about how we can help you by clicking this blog link: How can an Exercise Physiologist help me?
How to do a standard push-up safely
It pays to be mindful of your form with this upper-body pressing exercise – and it starts with the basics.
You want to find yourself a nice clear space free of obstructions and set yourself in a raised plank position on the ground.
With your hands placed shoulder-width apart and flat to the ground, your legs should be extended together behind you. In this position, your head, shoulders, back, hips and heels should be in an arrow-like straight line. Please be conscious not to stick your butt in the air, not to arch your back, and that you are looking straight down at the floor.
From here, you want to engage your core while lowering your torso toward the ground, until your elbows are at approximately 90 degrees. Then push yourself away from the ground by extending the elbows. If you can’t complete a set of 10-15, it’s ok to start with five or less and work up to it. Consistent training will get you there.
How to do a kneeling push-up safely
If you’ve found you’re not quite strong enough yet to comfortably master standard push-ups, then the kneeling push-up may be perfect for you.
You want to start on your hands and knees, in a comfortable space free of obstacles. With your hands shoulder-width apart and placed flat on the floor, your knees should be a comfortable distance apart and your face looking down at the floor. Again, your upper legs, back, shoulders and head should form a straight line (no arching).
Engaging your core, inhale as you lower your elbows to bring your chest toward the ground. Hold for a few seconds and exhale, still keeping your core engaged, as you push up back to your starting position.
If you can’t complete a set of 10-15, it’s ok to start with five or less and work up to it. Consistent training will get you there.
How to do an incline push-up safely
Incline push-ups will still challenge your upper body without putting any stress on your lower joints, but you do need a very stable surface that will bear your weight (a park bench, steps, or solid timber table are perfect).
To start, place your hands on the edge of the elevated surface and extend your arms, stepping your feet back so your legs are straight behind you. Again, your legs, butt, back, shoulders and head should form a straight line (no arching), with your body positioned at a 90-degree angle.
Inhale slowly as you engage your core, and slowly lower your chest down to the edge of the platform. Hold for a few seconds and exhale slowly as you push back to your starting position. If you can’t complete a set of 10-15, it’s ok to start with five or less and work up to it. Consistent training will get you there.
If you’re keen to get started but have an existing injury, chronic pain, or a metabolic condition, some expert advice is always a great starting point.
Our team of expert and empathic Agility Rehabilitation Exercise Physiologists are here to help you move safely toward your goals.
You can contact us here
, or call (08) 6162 8145