A perfect pushup can take your chest workout to the next level, and it can also help strengthen your shoulders, arms, hips and legs. In fact, in just a few minutes a day, you can gain major overall body benefits from this old school move.
But what’s the best way to do a push-up? Do you try for diamonds, wide position, or even push-up handles?
Plenty of Push-ups To Try
Here’s the thing: Each type of pushup and variation of body position has its own, unique benefit. All pushups are great, if done correctly. What makes a “perfect” pushup? It’s one that helps you get stronger and healthier—without causing injury.
What makes the perfect pushup for you might not be ideal for the person next to you at the gym, but all push-ups are beneficial if you have proper form and no injuries that compromise proper form. If you have any question if push-ups are right for you, make sure to consult your doctor.
How to Do an Injury-Free Push-up
That said, here are five tips to help you achieve the perfect pushup:
1. Elevate Yourself
You can use a folded towel or yoga blocks to get your chest higher off the ground (3-5 inches). As you elevate your body, you will find that the elevation forces you to use more core strength, turning an ordinary push-up into a perfect push-up that also activates abdominals. Violà, it’s a double-whammy exercise you can do in under five minutes.
2. Get Low
Most people don’t realize that they are not fully engaging the chest muscles when doing a push-up. When you drop your body towards the ground in a pushup, take it to the next level and lower your chest all the way to the ground. This is what turns a regular pushup into the perfect pushup. Just one rep of this variation and you’ll see that it’s a fast way to defining pec muscles in no time.
3. Become ONE
If you are performing push-ups before getting into a solid plank position, you are missing out. Forward planks are required to set the correct body position before dropping your chest down to the floor. Without this step, you may not be able to do a pushup in one fluid movement. Get into a forward plank before you start your reps: Make sure your hips aren’t higher than your abdomen and that your head isn’t lower than your shoulders. That’s what turns a regular push-up into a perfect pushup.
4. Pinch It
Form is everything in the gym. The same is true for exercises using only your body weight at home, such as a push-up or pull-up. Here’s how to make sure you do a push-up right: Pinch your glutes tight, and bring your arms in close to your body. Imagine that you are pinching a penny in between your cheeks as well as between your lats (shoulder blades) to further activate your body during this exercise.
5. Breathe In, Breathe Out
During exercise, the number one mistake people make is forgetting to breathe. And they often don’t even realize it. In order to perform a perfect pushup that doesn’t cause stress in other areas of your body, always remember to inhale and exhale consciously.
Here’s how to do it: inhale deeply through your nose as you lower your body towards the ground. Then, quickly exhale all of the air through your mouth as you push up. This will not only make the pushups easier on your body, but it also makes them more effective.
You’ve Got This!
Follow these five tips to take your pushup to the next level. And in no time, you’ll have a workout that rivals a benchpress, right at home. Practice this old-school bodybuilding move any day of the week for fast results that will make your gym buddies green.