Push ups are a classic exercise which are probably already in your regular workout. They are one of the most basic and effective upper body exercises that anyone of any fitness level can perform.
Despite the simplicity of the classic push-ups, they are easier to get wrong than you would think, meaning they no longer optimise every part of your upper body.
There are a few common things people get wrong when trying to complete a push up including the angle of their arms, the positioning of their elbows and also the positioning of their hands.
The most effective push up should be a full body exercise rather than just an arm and shoulder workout.
Below are some simple tips to get the most out of each and every push up you perform.
Bracing your core properly is fundamental when trying to achieve a perfect push up. Avoid rounding your spine by squeezing your core; hold the abdominal muscles in tightly so your body is ready for the exercise. This not only makes the push up a full body work out but it also prevents the risk of injury, so its definitely worth doing.
Glutes are one of the biggest groups of muscles in your body and yet they are often forgotten and spend a lot of time inactive. Give your glutes the attention they deserve, squeeze them tight as you perform your push up. By doing this you’ll provide protection for your lower back, once again reducing the risk of injury. Tightening your glutes will help improve your posture and help maintain the neutral spine positioning to avoid incorrect, rounded form.
As mentioned above one of the most common mistakes with push-ups is elbow positioning. The tendency is to flare out the elbows or bringing them down below your wrists, this can result in injuries to the shoulder. Your elbows should be close to your sides and under your shoulders; your hands should be under your elbows. Setting your body up like this helps include your lats and triceps more effectively into the exercise. By having your joints in line your shoulders are incorporated into the work out too.
A lot of people position their hands pointing straight forward or inwardly whilst performing push ups which puts unnecessary stress on the wrists. Instead, position your hands slightly outward and open up your fingers so you are gripping onto the floor. This decreases strain on the wrists, creating full body tension and helps to tighten up the lats and triceps as well as activating more upper back muscles.
If your body is braced and you are pushing with all your might in the correct form you can be sure that you will soon reap the rewards of a successful push up session.
Look forward to a chest pump after doing your push-ups, don’t forget to refuel properly after your workouts and everyone will be envying your upper body in no time.
by Kath Webb
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