Unlocking the Secrets to a Better Pushup
Pushups are renowned for their effectiveness as upper body exercises and as tests for muscular strength and endurance. No matter where you go, whether it’s a gym or a fitness facility, you’re bound to encounter someone engaging in this timeless exercise. What’s fascinating is the countless variations and interpretations that people bring to the table when performing pushups. However, mastering the fundamental form is crucial. In this blog, we’ve put together essential insights and a brief instructional video to guide you toward achieving the perfect pushup.
- **Mind Your Hand Placement**: The placement of your hands and the positioning of your shoulders play a pivotal role in the effectiveness of your pushup. Poor hand placement can result in targeting the wrong muscles and, even worse, cause potential injury. If your hands are too high, it can strain your neck and upper traps, or if your elbows flare out, it may stress the tendons in your elbows or wrists.
*Solution*: Maintain an upper arm angle of around 45 degrees from your torso and focus on squeezing your scapula together as you lower your body with control. This technique ensures your shoulders are in a neutral position and activates the larger muscles involved in the pushing motion.
- **Embrace Core Stability**: The term “core” is often thrown around casually, so let’s define what it means in the context of a pushup. Your core involves all the muscles responsible for stabilizing your spine and maintaining a neutral position as you move up and down from the floor. In essence, it’s about the connection between your upper and lower body while resisting rotational forces that may pull you from side to side. Strong tension in your core is essential for keeping your body steady as your scapula protracts and retracts (shoulders pull together and apart).
*Solution*: Strengthen your quads and glutes to provide stability to your lower body, while your abs play a crucial role in keeping your body aligned during the pushup.
- **Sensible Progressions**: Sometimes, you’ll encounter variations of pushups that seem random or unnecessary. While it’s fine to introduce variety into your workouts to combat boredom, be aware that this might affect your progress. For example, performing rotational pushups can challenge your body to stabilize in a less stable plane of movement, where one shoulder must support your weight. However, if you’re doing it simply because it appears more complex, you might not fully understand the purpose and, therefore, may not make the best use of your time.
*Solution*: Opt for logical progressions in your exercise routine. There are numerous ways to intensify your pushups, such as using resistance bands or incorporating a slow negative (lowering) and explosive concentric (pushing away) phase.
Perfecting the pushup requires attention to detail and an understanding of how each element contributes to its effectiveness. By mastering hand placement, ensuring core stability, and selecting sensible progressions, you can maximize the benefits of this classic exercise. Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast or a beginner, these insights will help you achieve the perfect pushup and make the most out of your workout routine.
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