We had a push-up skills clinic for our members yesterday. The ladies were very engaged so that made it a lot of fun. In fact, I kept them about 10 minutes longer. 😉
Anyway, whether you’re a member and you’ve been working on push-ups at the studio or at a gym or at home on your own…here are a few tips and reminders to help you get stronger or even get that first floor push-up! I’m a big fan of mastering bodyweight movements. A strong push-up can make your weighted strict presses or bench presses even stronger. The opposite is not necessarily true. So keep working on those push-ups!
1. Practice and perform push-ups in the plank position.
No matter where you are with your push-ups, practice them in the plank position (instead of on your knees). Why? The push-up is a fantastic full body exercise. When you do them on your knees you are missing out on using your full body. Start with wall push-ups and then work your way down to incline. Keep lowering yourself closer to the floor as you get stronger.
2. Set-up is everything.
This is true with every movement. It’s hard to get good reps when you don’t take time for a good set-up. Hands should be about shoulder width apart/shoulders over wrists, fingers spread. Focus your eyes on your fingertips (or an imaginary line that runs through your fingertips). Keep your feet about shoulder width apart. (Bring them in to make your push-ups more challenging, or take them out for more stability – if your hips dip.)
3. Get tight!
This was a winning tip from yesterday’s clinic. It seems simple, but it has to become a habit. Tension = strength and power. The goal is to move as one unit. And it’s very hard to move a loosey goosey body all together. Tighten your glutes and your quads. (This is also necessary so you don’t have back pain!) Inhale on the way down and take a power breath/exhale as you push the floor away.
Partners ensured that all boxes were checked for set-up…shoulders over wrists, glutes and quads tight!
4. Use your lats.
Push your shoulders away from your ears and down into your back pocket. Imagine rowing or pulling yourself down to the ground and then back up using your back. (This was also a winning tip…especially at the bottom of the push-up.)
We did a partner drill (to right) to feel the lats.
5. Make an arrow with your upper body.
Keep those elbows tucked during the push-up. No chicken wings! This is more shoulder-friendly (and correct form).
6. Work through your sticking point.
Your sticking point is the place that you either can’t lower past or can’t push up past. Spend some time there. Lower down or push yourself up to your sticking point and hold there (so you’ll basically be in a plank with your elbows bent). Build your time! Warning: This is not easy!
If you’re ready to realize your strength, find out more about our women’s fitness studio at DFT-STL.com. Drop us a line through the contact form, and one of our awesome trainers will be in touch to learn about your personal fitness goals!