How do I do a proper Push-Up?

This is a question that I get often from clients and thought that maybe it would be great to start a series on proper here you go! 

Why should I do Push-Ups?

Push-Ups are one of the best bodyweight exercises to strengthen your shoulders, chest, and back all at the same time!  You don't have time for multiple exercises in your busy day right?!  When done in proper form, push-ups also target the serrator muscles (on your sides under your arms) like no other exercise can.  So what are you waiting for?  Let's do this!

Start where you can now and keep practicing!!  Remember to use proper form for this exercise to be effective and for you to progress to full push-ups on your hands and toes. 

Proper Push-up Form:

1. Start in a high plank position (toes, ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, neck all in one line) and place your palms under your shoulders or slightly wider than your shoulders for more stability. Keep your fingers pointing directly forward.

2. Keep your core tight and bend your elbows to lower your torso toward the floor.

3. Don’t let your hips or head drop down before your chest lowers toward the floor.

4. Go as low as you can, then push through your palms to straighten your arms.  Do not lock the arms when you straighten. 

Modification:  If you still need to build up your core and upper body strength, you have a couple options.  You can start with your knees down on the floor which requires less core activation.  Lift your feet off of the floor, keep your hips lifted, and pull your core in toward your spine gently.  Follow the same form indicated above with regard to your upper body.  The modifications that I prefer, however, keep your body in plank position but place you at an angle so the load is lessened (ex. push-ups on a table or wall).  This modification should help you progress to the ground sooner than from your knees to toes. 

Are you ready to begin strengthening your upper body with Push-Ups?  My challenge to you is to start with 5 reps in good form everyday and then add on 5 reps each week until you are doing at least 25 a day!  Enjoy and let me know how the push-ups go!