Updated: Feb 19
Once you learn the correct form and technique of a push-up, you'll realize that biceps have little to do with it. The correct push-up technique will result in a stronger upper body, but that's not all. When performed properly, push-ups can also work the lower back and abdominal muscles. Push-ups can even improve your posture!
Here are three more ideas and exercises that you can use to help you challenge yourself into getting stronger and performing this exercise correctly.
*If you haven't checked out POST #1 in this series, please read that before this one as you will get valuable information before starting the ideas in this post.*
Proper Push-Up Technique Requires Your Triceps, Too
Let's get those triceps going and strengthened. Because in the long run, they will help you with your push-up technique.
Here's the basic triceps dip:
- Position your hands shoulder-width apart on a secured bench or stable chair.
- Slide your butt off the front of the bench with your legs extended out in front of you.
- Straighten your arms, keeping a little bend in your elbows to keep tension on your triceps and off your elbow joints.
- Slowly bend your elbows to lower your body toward the floor until your elbows are at about a 90-degree angle. Be sure to keep your back close to the bench.
- Once you reach the bottom of the movement, press down into the bench to straighten your elbows, returning to the starting position. This completes one rep.
- Keep your shoulders down as you lower and raise your body. You can bend your legs to modify this exercise.
Here's an instructional video to help: https://youtu.be/6kALZikXxLc
Another option, if you have dumbbells, is the Lying Triceps Extension.
- Lie on your back on a bench or flat on the floor.
- With a 3-5 lbs. weight, extend your arms straight up from your shoulders over your chest.
- Bend your elbows and lower the dumbbells until they're just above your shoulders. Your upper arms shouldn't move.
- Pause and then extend the dumbbells back to the starting—complete 10-15 reps.
And don't forget... you should always be building up your push-up count. If you did, 15 yesterday, do 20 today.
Get Your Mindset Right
Did you know our minds give up before our bodies? I had a really bad habit of this when I was younger. I would say I was going to do 15-20 reps and when it felt too challenging I would stop before I hit the 15 mark. My mind told me I was tired, so I stopped.
Working on your mindset is critical to many things but when working out it is very critical. When I would stop, I felt guilty every time because I felt like I gave up on myself. This mindset leached into many areas of my life where when I did not succeed in something, I felt like I failed and I gave up instead of overcoming.
Exercising and pushing yourself, even if it is just 1 more rep, teaches you that you can do it and that you are worth it. It will strengthen your mindset and it will tell your mind that YOU CAN do hard things.
This is why it's essential to push our muscles. This means working to fatigue.
When you feel like you can't possibly do another rep, squeeze out just one more.
What's your motivation?
The Standard Push-Up
Once, you have strengthened your upper body with the previous exercises in this post and the previous post, you are ready for a standard push-up.
Push-ups are not easy... they are HARD. But with time and when you gain strength, you'll notice they are not so bad.
It's the beginning that is not so much fun. But tell your mind that you can do it and you will!
Even if you can't do more than one, just give it a try!
Here's a video illustrating proper form: https://youtu.be/vt-IbHbN7S8
And remember you are STILL building up your push-up count. You should be doing a minimum of 35 push-ups now! Modify as needed!! These don't have to be standard push-ups. If you can only do 1 standard, then do 34 modified.