Everyone knows how to do pushups, right? Aren’t pushups the easiest exercise? I learned how to do pushups in second grade! But truthfully, most people are doing this classic exercise completely wrong. It’s easy to understand the basics…
Lay down on your stomach, and push yourself up! As with most things in life, the devil is in the details, and if you don’t learn the details, you’ll get subpar results and potentially hurt yourself.
You don’t want to be doing pushups wrong because they are such a useful exercise. You can do them at home, at work, in the park, wherever… With no equipment and just a small area of space you can do so much.
Pushups work your Pectoralis major, deltoids, triceps brachii, serratus anterior, abdominal muscles, and coracobrachialis. For all you common folk, that includes many arm and upper body muscles along with abs (just kidding, nobody really knows what all those terms mean aside from medical types).
The moral of the story is that you want to realize the full potential of pushups. Here are some tips to keep your pushups in great shape.
Straight back: Keeping a straight back is essential and probably the most important part of the pushup. It’s also the most common mistake. With a bent back, you put your spine at the risk of injury. However there is one simple way to combat this common error. By keeping your chin out and your eyes looking forward you can easily solve this problem.
It’s still hard to do this right during the intensity of a tough set of pushups, but if you constantly remind yourself about this, you will quickly make it a habit. In order to check that your back is straight during your pushups, ask someone nearby to be completely honest. Nobody wants to see an ugly pushup, so you can expect some constructive criticism.
Elbows in: Keep your elbows tucked in very tight as if you are squeezing a piece of paper between your arms and your body. Squeeze those elbows in. This does two things.
First, it makes the pushup use your lat muscles (the muscles on your back and under your arms) and your triceps (the muscles on the back of your arms).
Second, it’s healthier for your shoulders. When your elbows stick out in funny directions, it puts unnecessary stress on your shoulders.
It’s hard to keep your elbows tucked in all the time though and there is a good trick to make this easier. When in your push up position, try to rotate your hands 90 degrees to the outside. Don’t actually turn your hands, but put pressure in that direction, so it turns your elbows inwards so you can squeeze them between you and your body.
Use your core: When doing pushups don’t isolate your arms and chest muscles, use your entire body and especially your core stomach muscles. If you do this, then suddenly you will be able to do many more pushups, they will feel easier and you will develop your ab muscles. Sounds good to me!