Thursday, August 4, 2011

How to Master the Perfect Push-up

I don't know what's up with people these days but every time I observe someone perform push-ups, it resembles some other foreign movement (sometimes it looks like 'humping the floor') which isn't anything close to being what I call "the perfect push-up". I most cases, and I do mean about 80-90% of the time, form & technique is out the window.

The person's head is hanging down - chin down to their chest.

The hips drop down to the floor causing severe low back extension - this isn't Yoga folks, so what's up with the Cobra Pose?!

The hands are way out in front and the elbows flare outward into a "T" position.

I even sometimes see regressions - push-ups on the knees with the butt up in the air. Despite the 'bowing' movement and the partial reps, this move doesn't cut it close to being the "perfect push-up!
Here's a 5-step primer to help improve your form & technique and get you on the road to mastering the perfect push-up.

  1. Maintain a neutral spine by keeping your head up & looking forward (down to the floor). Maintain a stiff upper back while bracing your head throughout the movement. If the heads drops, your upper back will sag.
  2. Brace your abs. Ever been punched in the stomach? If you have, then you know it's not a pleasant experience. In this case, given a warning about getting punched in the midsection, brace your abs hard, as if you want to minimize the impact of force if you were getting punched. Bracing the abs also assists in keeping the hips parallel to the floor as well as preventing any bowing movement of your mid back. 
  3. Make sure the knuckles of your hands are directly under your shoulders. This will maintain an optimal position to maintain shoulder stability thus allowing your chest to take the grunt of the work as it should.
  4. Focus on squeezing the shoulder blades at the bottom of the movement. As you push the floor away from you, roll the shoulder blades back out. 
  5. During the push phase, explode back up to your starting position keeping your elbows in tight next to the rib cage. Often times I see people who let their elbows bow out to the sides. If you were to take an aerial view from the top, their set-up would look like the letter "T". The ideal set-up should look like an arrow.
So there you have it. A solid 5-step plan to help you crank out some awesome, textbook push-ups.

For more awesome info on developing the push-up, be sure to check out this informative article that I came across on T-Nation by clicking HERE!

Time to get it done!


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