The Perfect Pushup: Are You Doing Them Right?

by Gabriella Patel on December 25, 2014

Push-ups. We’ve all done them, but sometimes they just don’t look the best. Push-ups are really a total-body functional move that is great for increasing strength, much like bench-pressing, and also have the added benefit of engaging the core and lower body. The bodyweight exercise can be done just about anywhere with a ton of variations to spice things up. So let’s drop down and do the perfect push-up.

  1. Get into a plank position with hands planted directly under the shoulders (slightly wider than shoulder width apart). Ground the toes into the floor to stabilize the bottom half of the body. Engage the abs and back so the body is neutral.
  2. Begin to lower the body. The back flat, and eyes focused about three feet in front of you to keep a neutral neck, until the chest nearly touches the floor. Don’t let the butt dip or stick out at any point during the move; the body should remain flat from head to toe all the way through the movement. Draw the shoulder blades back and down, while keeping the elbows tucked close to the body, so the upper arms form a 45-degree angle at the bottom of the push-up position.
  3. Keeping the core engaged, exhale as you push back to the start position as explosively as possible without leaving the ground. Boom! That’s one! Repeat for 10-20 reps or as many as can be performed with good form. Practice on concentrating on each push-up, to them correctly, rather than counting as fast as you can.

Now, for a few variations that can be done. A simple change of the positions of both the elbows and hands will activate different muscles and amp up the intensity of the basic push-up. Here are a few variations you can try:

The Bent Knee Push-Up
If it’s too hard to nail down the perfect push-up, these type of push-ups are great for beginners before moving on to other varieties. Come to all fours, hands directly under the shoulders. With the knees on the floor, lower to the ground the same way as a standard push-up, just with the knees helping to stabilize the body rather than the feet.

Alternating Med Ball Push-Up
This variety increases range of motion, and works core stability. Place one hand on top of the medicine ball, while the other stabilizes the body on the floor. Adjust the body into a plank. Perform a standard push-up, then roll the ball to the other hand and repeat.

Single Leg Push-Up
This push-up is tricky, because the body is stabilized by only three points rather than four. Perform a standard push-up, but raise one leg up toward the ceiling, heel reaching toward the wall behind you. Alternate legs after each rep, or perform two sets (starting with one leg, then switching to the other for the next set).

Focus on mechanics, and it will help engage the whole body. That’s the great thing about doing the perfect push-up; your whole core is engaged, and uses different muscles especially when you try some of the other varieties!

Gabriella Patel

Gabriella Patel

Health Contributor at Creative Bioscience
I grew up in a family who has a long history in natural supplements. I've always found such a greater level of health and well being because of the choices I've made to seek natural and organic products. I've taken a lot of my knowledge now to be able to help others make the right decisions to achieve a higher level of wellness. From what I've seen most of where the problems come from is what we put in our bodies, and what we're not. I hope to shed some light on many issues we all face. Subscribe to my work Gabriella's favorite product is Detox Diet 1234
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