by Daniel Lucas

Why is the push up a star in the training world? What does it have that other exercises don’t? Let’s break it down!

The push-up is a fundamental bodyweight strength movement for the upper body and core. It can be performed anywhere, and has many variations. Many exercisers still perform this movement incorrectly, however. It’s also surprising how many regular participants in group classes also perform the push-up poorly.

The cause of low quality push-ups? Most often, people in training sessions or classes are shooting for reps, instead of quality form. And because the push-up is viewed as a “simple” or “basic” exercise, these exercisers are probably mentally  checked out; they’re going the motions instead of being focused on and in their bodies.

Here are my tips for performing an excellent push-up:

  1. Set the blueprint in your mind. This means to get your mind prepared for the challenge. Commit mentally to doing your push-up with quality form and energy.
  2. Set your hands in line with your chest, with your fingers spread and hands grounded to the floor. Your hands will end up in what’s called the “scapular plane,” and I prefer them about three inches from the body.
  3. Initiate the movement by bending the elbows but immediately loading in to the pectoral muscles of the chest. Focus on that chest stretch from the start.
  4. Your core has to remain in a plank position as you perform the exercise.
  5. Your neck remains in neutral position, with your eyes looking at the ground.
  6. Inhale on the way down, and exhale on the way up.
  7. Sense the integration of the chest, shoulders, triceps and even back and biceps working to decelerate your body as you start your push-up. Your core is strong and you are off and running!
  8. Your new technique will most likely “feel” more challenging, because you may have been positioning your hands too high or too close together, and not loading enough into your pecs.

Enjoy your new high-quality push-ups!