Push-ups are one of the easiest exercises you can perform anywhere to strengthen your upper body and improve your core strength. A push-up works many muscles, including your chest, shoulder, triceps, upper back, legs(including your glutes) and your entire core (abdominals/low back-erectors).
Perfect your technique with the cues below and let’s arm up your next workout!
Hand placement: Start with your hands directly under your shoulders and then move them outward, so the distance is slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Draw your shoulder blades back and down so your elbows naturally go slightly back towards your body. (Be careful not to move too far back to the full tricep push-up position).
Body: Your body should be in one straight line from the top of your head to your feet. The key is to tighten your glutes by squeezing them together. Your abs should be tight, as if you are bringing your belly button to your spine by contracting your abs. These two cues will prevent your back from arching or your butt from sticking up in the air.
Head: Your head should remain in a neutral position. To check your head position, take your hand and place it with your thumb and pinkie finger on your collarbone and rest your chin on your index finger.
Feet: Keep your feet close together with the balls of your feet stabilizing your lower body.
Breathing: As you’re doing the push-up, inhale on the descent and exhale as you push up to a full, straight-arm extension.
Begin with your arms straight, your abs engaged and your glutes squeezed. Slowly lower your body by bending your arms (with your elbows pointed slightly out) as you draw the shoulder blades back and down. Descend until your chest touches the floor. The key is to not “let go” of your form as your chest touches.
Once you’ve perfected the basic push-up form and your strength improves, implement Lisa’s favorites below!
Rolling Medicine ball push-ups build core stability and a deeper mobility of strength in your chest and back muscles. Place one hand on the medicine ball and one hand on the floor. As you decend, your chest should pass the medicine ball, creating a deeper stretch. Extend your arms to the beginning position, keeping your abdominals and body tight. Roll the medicine ball to the other hand and perform one push-up. Repeat for 8 rolls (repetitions). Stretch & Repeat 2×8.
Stability ball push-ups maximize your entire core by creating an imbalance. Adding the stability ball works every single muscle of your body. To perform, lay your chest and hands on the stability ball and roll your body until your knees (or the tops of your feet for a more advanced move) are on the stability ball. Lift one leg up and perform the push-up. Perform 5 repetitions and repeat with the other leg up. Rest and repeat 2×5 on each leg.
Pike push-ups with a chair will prepare you for a handstand by emphasizing the shoulders and the core. Even your finger tip muscles will be working as you keep your entire body tight. Bend your arms as much as you can and extend to starting position. This is an advanced exercise and should be performed with a trainer’s guidance.
High/low push-ups are another excellent variation to the basic push-up because they improve core stability and uni-lateral arm-body strength. Place one hand below the shoulder and one hand above the shoulder to perform a push-up. Switch hand positions and repeat for 8-10 repetitions. Rest, Stretch & Repeat 2×8. *For modifications on this push-up and medicine ball push-ups, place knees down.
Achieve the look you’ve always wanted by performing these push-up variations in addition to eating clean, engaging in cardiovascular exercise/strength/cardio circuit training, working on total body lifts, having a positive spirit and ultimately loving the REEDiculoulsy Fit life with your fit, fashionable Fabletics’ outfits!
Lisa Reed, #FableticsMaster