The Push Up is one of the most underrated measures of strength in relation to bodyweight. The fact that most people cannot string 25 of these together is unbelievable. Here is a simple exercise that you can do anywhere with plenty of ways to modify and scale for any ability.
Push Ups target the chest, shoulders, and triceps and work your core, back, and legs. They pack a serious punch for such a seemingly simple exercise, but you aren’t doing yourself any favors if your form isn’t dialed.
- Start in a tall plank position with your hands just outside your shoulders. You want to make sure that your shoulders are stacked vertically over your hands and that you are squeezing your core, glutes and quads.
- Lower your body towards the ground, leading with the chest. Arms should come out no more than 45-degrees from your body and you need to maintain that “squeeze” in your core, glutes and quads.
- When the chest touches the ground, drive hands into the ground and push back up, locking your arms at the top. (You should still be squeezing!)
- Rinse and repeat.
Some of our favorite cues:
- “Screw the hands”
- “Use your breath”
- “Keep your eyes on one spot”
How to scale:
- Elevate the Hands: Place your hands onto a box, bench, table, couch, etc. so that your hands are higher than your feet. Adjust the height so that you can string 10 perfect reps together without resting.
- “Negatives”: This is a great way to work up to that first push up. Start from the tall plank position and lower your body down. Once you reach the ground, drop to your knees and push back up. Come back up to the toes and repeat.
- Decrease the R.O.M.: Place a foam roller or yoga block underneath your chest. Complete the push up, lowering the chest to the roller/block and pushing back up to the tall plank position.
- Eccentrics: Using good push up form, slowly lower yourself to the floor, pause, and then push up to the top position, pause and repeat. Use this tempo as a starting point, (21X1). The numbers refer to:
- 2-second eccentric (lowering to the ground)
- 1-second pause at the bottom
- X, explode up to the top
- 1-second pause at the top
- Elevate the Feet: Elevating your feet onto a higher surface than your hands will place more load on the chest and shoulders, ultimately making this a more advanced exercise. It’s physics!
- Add load: To increase the intensity even more, you can place whatever weight you desire on your upper back to further challenge your push up. We love utilizing a ruck sack. Start slow and build your strength over time.
Two Workouts to Improve Your Push Up
- Tabata Push Ups, 8 Rounds of (20-seconds of Work / 10-seconds of Rest)
- This interval will build muscular endurance since the rest is limited and the volume of work is on the higher side. Here you will perform as many push ups as possible during the 20 seconds of work, rest during the 10-second window and repeat for a total of 8 rounds. Record your total reps and try to beat your score the next time!
- 10-1 Push Up Ladder
Complete 10 perfect push ups. Rest 10 seconds. Complete 9 perfect push ups. Rest 10 seconds and repeat this pattern until you reach 1 perfect push up. If you’re still feeling fresh, Rest 2:00-3:00 and repeat!
Want to improve your Push Up? Our online bodyweight program focus in July is Push Ups! Contact Coach Roman to get signed up today and get ready to set a new Push Up personal record!!