Push-ups are challenging—there’s no way around it. That said, they’re one of the quickest equipment-free ways to build arm and core strength. Regardless of your current fitness, improving your push-up form and strength is achievable, it just takes work. Here are a few tips to help you achieve push-up perfection.
Work Up to Full Form
Building strength is not an overnight process, which means your body might not be fully prepared to complete a full-form push-up on day one. The best way to build this strength is to acclimate your body to a push-up progressively.
If you’re a push-up novice, start on all fours with your knees directly below your hips and your hands directly below your shoulders. Lower the front of your body to the ground and back up. This position helps you build arm strength without supporting the full weight of your body.
From here, try modified push-ups, in which you take on the typical stance of a push-up, just from your knees instead of a full plank position. This position takes on more weight and engages your core, but it isn’t quite as challenging as a plank.
No matter where you begin, pay attention to your form. A push-up completed with half effort, whether modified or not, doesn’t build your strength. Before you move on to a more advanced position, be sure your form is excellent.
Watch Your Positioning
Much of a push-up’s form has to do with the positioning of your arms. Your elbows should be at a forty-five-degree angle to your ribs rather than perpendicular. Proper positioning will build strength faster and will make doing push-ups more comfortable for your shoulders and wrists.
Utilize Your Core
Push-ups are an excellent workout for your arms, but they are also a workout for your core.
If your stomach is drooping or you’re arching your back, you’re not completing a push-up as intended. You need to actively engage your core, just as you would in a plank position. Your core is necessary for a full plank push-up, so make sure it is engaged in your modifications, too, to prepare for the real deal. Using your core will also decrease your chance of injury.
Focus on Quality Over Quantity
Last but certainly not least, you’ll need to pay attention to quality over quantity. Sure, doing a hundred push-ups sounds super impressive, but it’s less impressive when those push-ups have poor form.
Your push-up form should be your highest priority. If you can only do ten push-ups with the good form, then that’s the number to build on. Don’t force more push-ups than you can do correctly, as this increases your chance of injury.
Whether you love them or hate them, push-ups are great for your fitness routine if done correctly. So, no matter what stage you’re at when it comes to your fitness goals, do your push-ups correctly to build strength in a safe and lasting way.