Push-ups are a timeless exercise known to many since high school gym class, where a gym personal trainer often introduced them, yet they often must be executed better or avoided altogether. Regardless of your fitness level, push-ups remain a formidable challenge. You’re pitted against your muscle mass, striving to lift the weight of your entire body – it’s no walk in the park!
We understand that many of our clients are initially intimidated by this exercise, which demands strength and precise execution. But fear not; with dedicated practice and expert guidance, mastering the elusive push-up is entirely within your reach. Here’s a step-by-step progression to help you achieve that goal:
Step 1: High Plank
Before diving into push-ups, let’s start with the fundamentals – the high plank. Follow these steps:
- Position your palms on the floor, slightly outside shoulder-width apart at chest level.
- Maintain a slight bend in your elbows to prevent hyperextension.
- Space your feet hip-width apart, keeping them parallel.
- Engage your core muscles, pulling your navel in and contracting your abdominals.
- Hold a high plank for at least 60 seconds before moving on to the next step – wall push-ups.
Step 2: Wall Push-Ups
Stand at arm’s length from a wall and proceed as follows:
- Place your palms on the wall at shoulder height, slightly wider than your shoulders.
- Step back, forming a straight line from your shoulders to your heels.
- Keep your weight on the balls of your feet as you bend your elbows.
- Ensure your shoulder blades retract during the movement, and remember to engage your core, lats, and glutes.
- Pause briefly when your upper arms align with your back, then press against the wall, squeezing your chest to return to the starting position. Aim to perform 15 wall push-ups before advancing to modified negatives.
Step 3: Modified Negative Push-Ups
Begin in a kneeling position and follow these steps:
- Walk your hands forward to create a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.
- Maintain the hand positioning you practiced earlier – hands slightly outside shoulder width at chest level.
- Slowly lower yourself to the floor until you’re lying flat, applying the same muscle control from wall push-ups.
- Squeeze your core, lats, and glutes as your shoulder blades retract during the descent.
- To return to the starting position, either press against the floor while squeezing your chest or roll onto your side and restart.
- Aim to perform ten modified negatives with control before progressing to negative push-ups.
Step 4: Negative Push-Ups
Negative push-ups follow the same principles as modified negatives but challenge you further. Keep these points in mind:
- Maintain your feet hip-width apart and parallel like in a high plank.
- Slowly lower yourself from your palms to your toes, applying the same muscle control.
- Once you can comfortably execute ten negative push-ups, it’s time to move on to modified push-ups.
Step 5: Modified Push-Ups
Starting in the modified negative position, proceed as follows:
- Gradually lower yourself until your upper arms align with your back, maintaining muscle control as before.
- Squeeze your core, lats, and glutes while retracting your shoulder blades during the descent.
- To return to the starting position, press against the floor while squeezing your chest.
- Aim for ten well-controlled modified push-ups before advancing to standard push-ups.
Finally, you’re ready for the real deal! Here’s how to perform a standard push-up:
- Begin in a high plank position, maintaining the muscle control you’ve honed.
- Execute the push-up with your toes on the ground and your feet hip-width apart, keeping them parallel.
Tips for Success and Safety
- Maintain an engaged core to prevent lower back arching, which can lead to pain and injury.
- Avoid shoulder blade elevation; keep your shoulders away from your ears to focus tension on your chest.
- Aim to maintain a 45-degree angle between your elbows and your body for proper form.
Consistency is Key
Remember, consistency is the cornerstone of success. We recommend practicing push-ups at least twice weekly for steady progress, but aim for 3-4 sessions to expedite your journey. Be patient, stay committed, and don’t hesitate to contact us for hands-on support and more fitness tips. You’ve got this!