Let’s face it most pushing chest exercises, whether it is performed in a standing or supine position, have the core technique of a push-up . . . so why do we not utilize push-ups more? Not only does it strengthen the anterior (or front) muscles of the torso but it is a very good core stabilization exercise.
- Neck and back stay straight.
Chin should not be tucked and you should not be looking up, eyes focus is down, hold that position and clench the abdominals as though you were a boxer taking a punch (boxer belly). Place a dowel along your spine and you should have 3 points of contact (back of the head, between the shoulder blades and hips). *Do not drop the hips and do not point the rear in the air
- Tighten the buttocks.
The core includes the glutes. This will help in stabilizing the proper technique and teach you to activate more of your body. As you progress to a higher level exercise (i.e. bench press), the whole body will need to be activated so learn now.
- Keep the elbows tucked.
Many people make the mistake of putting a flare on their elbows (from a view above it would look like a T). A better position and more functional position is an arrow (view from above) or elbows at 45 degrees. This will “fire” more triceps and give more of a functional push position.
*By placing the hands closer (like a diamond) and elbows closer to the side, more emphasis is placed on the triceps.
- Squeeze the shoulder blades.
By doing this you will engage scapular stabilizers thus protecting the shoulder joint. Once again this translated to a higher level exercise (i.e. bench press) because it will provide you with a stronger platform.
- Every rep counts.
The depth of your push-up should allow a fist space between the ground and your chest. When rising during a push-up, straighten out your elbows completely (i.e. lock out, do not snap).
- A good progression for push-ups is starting from a height such as a counter top and as you get stronger the feet can be elevated on a bench or a ball.
Stay tuned for Part 2: Push-up variations
By: Rocco Ferraiolo PTA, NASM certified, SPARQ certified