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  • Al Painter NASM-CPT, CES, PES


Pushups, great exercise for a whole lot of reasons. It not only builds chest, shoulder and tricep strength, it can go a long way to helping the core get stronger. If you do them right.

And that's a HUGE "if." While very effective, I've seen it done to the point where I accumulate as much ocular lactic acid as the upper body muscles do on the person doing them.

From low backs arched to the point you can hold an ski jump event on them to chins that are about a mile and a half in front of the collarbone as people go descend I've seen just about every "variation" possible when it comes to butchering one of the most basic movements humans make: pushing.

First off, I feel if you can't hold a LEGITMATE plank for at least one minute, pushups should be further out on the horizon for you. You could start with your hands elevated on a chair, bench, etc and eventually work your way down to the floor.

With that being said, here are 13 tips to keep in mind the next time you do pushups.

  1. Pack your chin to stabilize your spine. A stabil spine means the rest of the body can do it's job a lot better.

  2. A great tip I learned from a "Rehab = Training, Training = Rehad" from Charlie Weingroff is to pull yourself towards the floor, bar, chair, etcs. Pushing begins where pulling ends and the end of the pull position is with the shoulder blades packed together. When you get it right the first time, you'll feel like you can press a Mac Truck.

  3. Another tip I learned at a Dan John workshop is to drive the pad under the index finger into the floor. Its akin to creating the short foot position with your feet.

  4. Start taking a FULL deep belly breath as you lower body to the floor.

  5. At the bottom of the movement, brace your abs like you are about to take a punch from UFC bad ass George St Pierre. You can also insert trying to withstand a canon ball blast. Its about the same!

  6. The elbows should be roughly 45 degrees off the shoulders at this point. I've also seen elbows right next to the ribs.

  7. Begin to push yourself away from the floor, bar, chair, etc (make sure you're pushing through that index finger pad)

  8. Exhale through pursed lips to get more core activation.

  9. Go to full elbow lockout and SLIGHT shoulder separation on top.

  10. Your wrists should be directly under your shoulders at the top of the movement.

  11. Your head SHOULD NOT MOVE throughout the motion. This includes looking up at the bottom of the movement.

  12. There should be a STRAIGHT LINE from the ankles, to the knees, to the hips, to the shoulders to the middle of the ear as you do these from top to bottom.

  13. To make this even more fun, place a tennis ball on the floor to use as a way of "reminding" people to go through a full range of motion for pushups on the floor.

If you can nail the form for pushups, it will enhance the upper body press movements you do with suspension exercises as well as standing, kneeling or half kneeling with an exercise band or cable pulley. Not too mention this exercise never goes out of style.

Thanks for reading, much appreciated!

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