Pushups are an exercise that many can do poorly, but few can do well. I used to believe I could bang out a whole bunch of pushups.
It was a humbling experience to learn to do them correctly, but I’m glad I learned to do them the right way. They’re still a challenge for me but they get better every day.
Done well, pushups are an excellent tool to build scapular stability (those are the muscles that stabilize your shoulders – your traps, lats, and serratus anterior, if you want to get geeky). They also require a lot of core control, and not just from your abs. Your butt needs to engage too. It doesn’t want to be left home from the party.
Here are 3 things to remember while attempting to rock a pushup:
1. Keep your abs and butt tight. Imagine that you are bracing against a punch to the stomach to turn on your abdominals. Squeeze your tuckus. Remember that your torso is one piece, like a plank of wood. Your butt shouldn’t be up in the air, and your hips shouldn’t be sagging.
2. Make a double chin. A lot of hacked up pushups include pecking like a hen with the head.
3. Aim for your elbows to move at a 45 degree angle. Many people flare their elbows out, which is no bueno.
Pushups Still Too Tough?
Once you get your body in the correct position, you may find that you can’t do them, not even one. I feel you, friends. Instead of struggling with the final movement, modify your pushup by elevating your hands. I like to start people out with a bar on a rack and then lower the rack position over time. A bench works too!
Get out there and perfect your pushup!