Push-ups are one of the most basic and important exercises that you can do. However, too many people either can’t do them, or don’t want to do push-ups the right way. There’s no need to be afraid of the push-up! The push-up is your friend and can help you to get into great shape. We are going to show you how to do push-ups for beginners, and&nbhow to do push-ups the right way.
Here’s another fitness tip that can help you get one step closer to reaching your potential… The push-up, along with its complementary bodyweight movement the pull-up, is the bane of most people’s fitness existence. From the time these exercises were introduced to us back in grade school, many of us have struggled to perform them, and way too many people – adults and kids alike – can’t or don’t do them. A little while ago I provided you with some pull-up fitness tips, and now I’m going to favor you with a little of my push-up wisdom. I’ll keep saying this until I’m blue in the face, but everyone should be able to perform proper push-ups and pull-ups. To perform push-ups properly you have to be in the proper starting position. Start from a prone position – belly to the floor – with hands just outside shoulders with the fingers facing forward and arms fully extended. The feet can be together or as much as a foot apart. The hips should not sag towards the ground at any point during the exercise, and should be held in a position ever so slightly lower than the shoulders. Weight is forward on the hands so that the arms form a straight line from the wrists to the shoulders; the shoulders should not be behind the wrists. From this starting position, bend the elbows and lower the body until the upper arms are parallel to the ground – the chest does not have to touch the ground – then push up to return to the starting position. Remember to hold the middle firm so that the hips don’t rise and fall separately from the rest of the body. Stay as rigid as a board throughout the movement. Inhale on the way down and exhale on the way up. This is the only way to do a push-up. For those of you who cannot do a push-up, here are some techniques to help get you there. And don’t bother with “modified” or “girl’s” push-ups that are done with knees on the floor.
This exercise is a waste of time and, despite conventional wisdom, does NOT prepare the body to perform “real” push-ups. The first step to prepare the body to do push-ups is to work on maintaining the proper start position. What seems like an easy enough thing to do is actually be difficult for many people. So the first drill for those who can’t do a push-up is to get into the starting position and hold it for 30 seconds, breathing steadily the entire time. Maintaining this push-up posture for 30 seconds at a time is the best way for a beginner to strengthen the body and prepare for doing real push-ups. The “modified” push does nothing to develop the core strength and balance that’s required to do proper push-ups. If you haven’t tried this “static hold” exercise, you’ll be amazed at how difficult it can be, especially when doing 3 or 4 sets of 30-second holds, and how much more difficult it is to hold this position than it is to do modified, bastardized push-ups. Progress from this “top position” static hold to a “bottom position” static hold and the body is in a position where the chest is a few inches off of the floor.
This is a more difficult drill, so shoot for sets of 10-15 seconds in duration. Once the two variations of “static hold” push-ups have been mastered, progress to “negative” push-ups. Negative push-ups will help to build the strength needed to do real, full push-ups. To do a negative push-up get into the starting position and slowly lower your body until your chest touches the floor, maintaining strict control during the movement. When doing “negatives” there’s no concern for the push phase of the exercise, so once your chest touches the floor just get back to the staring position by going to your knees and resetting. The term “negative” is used to describe what is technically known as the eccentric contraction. During the down phase of the push-up the primary movers – the chest and the triceps muscles – are lengthening, which describes what occurs during an eccentric contraction. There is the belief that strength is built during the eccentric, or negative phase of an exercise. The most common adaptation of negatives is on the bench press, where the bar is slowly lowered to the chest while a spotter lifts the bar back to the starting position. Without getting any more technical, doing negatives versions of different kinds of exercises takes advantage of the muscles’ ability to lower a weight that is much heavier than the maximum weight that can be lifted. If you’ve ever gotten stuck at the bottom position doing squats or the bench press, you’ve seen this principle in action; lowering 300 pounds under control is one thing, but pressing it is another story. So don’t ignore push-ups, as this body-weight exercise can help to get into, and stay, in great shape.