Are you ready to take on one of the most difficult exercise poses? By mastering this one move, you will gain a stronger core, better posture, and toned shoulders and arms!
It doesn't matter if you're a beginner or someone wanting to perfect their technique; you can still improve your push-up. I'll share the most common mistakes people make when performing push-ups and how to avoid them.
Over the next few blog posts, I'll provide modifications for beginners and give you ideas to help you train supporting muscles to help you get to 50 push-ups.
This one exercise works so many parts of the body, making it ideal for doing at home. No equipment is needed!
Difficult Exercises Start With Modifications
If you struggle with push-ups, you're not alone. They are challenging for a reason! When done correctly, push-ups work the triceps, pectoral muscles, shoulders, lower back, AND core.
That's a lot of major muscle groups. Those who struggle with push-ups, typically aren't strong enough to lift their body weight. But let's fix that! Read this push-up blog series and you're halfway there!
The best way to make push-ups easier is to do LOTS of them.
There's no shame in starting with a modified push-up. Many variations may help you get started, progress, or increase difficulty.
Below are your modification options. I encourage everyone to do one set of 10 to 15 push-ups for each modification. Then pick the one that challenges you the most and do another set. This is the first step to mastering this difficult exercise.
1. .Wall push-ups:
- With your feet shoulder-width apart, stand about an arm's length away from a wall.
- Place your palms on the wall as you lean forward into a standing plank position. Your arms should be shoulder height and shoulder-width apart.
- Inhale as you bend your elbows and slowly move your upper body toward the wall while keeping your feet flat on the ground.
- Hold this position for a second or two.
- Exhale and use your arms to push your body slowly back to your starting position.
2. Seated push-ups:
- Sit on a bench with your palms down, and arms at your side. Your feet should rest comfortably on the ground with your knees bent.
- Using your arms, push down into your palms so that your body lifts up—still in the seated position. Your hips and butt should be just a half-inch or so off the bench.
- Lower back down to your starting position and repeat.
3. Kneeling push-ups:
- Begin in a hands-and-knee position with your gaze on the floor.
- Place your hands on the ground on either side of your shoulders. Your knees should be at a comfortable distance apart.
- Inhale as you slowly lower your elbows to bring your chest toward the ground. Be sure to keep your core muscles contracted.
- Pause for a second in the lowered position—your chin may lightly touch the ground.
- Exhale as you push up from the ground to your starting position.
Work On It Daily
When something is hard for you, it means you need to work on it more.
Depending on your fitness level, you may or may not be feeling sore after starting with the modifications; the 10-15 of each, and then choosing the best one for you
.Here's a video illustrating a few different push-up modifications:
Each day you should be building on the previous day. This means either making the push-ups harder, doing more push-ups, or both!
For example, if you're working from the wall push-ups, each day, you should bring your feet slightly further from the wall to give you more of a challenge. I encourage everyone to add 5 push-ups to the total amount completed the day before. So if you did ten push-ups the first day, you would do 15 push-ups the next day.
This is called building. You are building muscle by pushing yourself and along the way you build a stronger mindset.
Focus On Your Core
To help you work up to mastering your push-up technique, you need to strengthen the muscles used to complete a standard push-up.
One major muscle group used is your abdominal muscles. Because a standard push-up is essentially a moving plank, adding planks to your daily push-up routine will be really beneficial.
To practice plank pose:
- Plant your hands directly under your shoulders (slightly wider than shoulder-width) like you're about to do a push-up.
- Ground your toes into the floor and squeeze your glutes to stabilize your body. Your legs should be working, too—be careful not to lock or hyperextend your knees.
- Neutralize your neck and spine by looking at a spot on the floor about a foot beyond your hands. Your head should be in line with your back.
- Hold the position for 20 seconds. As you get more comfortable with the move, work up to holding your plank for a full minute.
To make the plank easier, place your forearms on the floor with elbows aligned below your shoulders and arms parallel to your body at about shoulder width. If flat palms bother your wrists, clasp your hands together.
For more of a challenge:
Lift one leg off the floor when holding the plank pose.