Pushups are a great exercise that utilizes your body weight as resistance, and when done right can work the whole body. Many people take some shortcuts in their form however that just ends up short changing the benefits that can be gained from the push up. Here are some ways to make your pushups more effective.
Get Your Form Right
One thing that you can do to make sure you’re getting the most out of your pushups is to make sure your form is right. Instead of allowing your back to curve under, try keeping your abs tight and your hips tucked under. This will require more muscle engagement from your torso that will not only work more muscles but also reduce the risk of injury. Resist the urge to scrunch your shoulders up into your neck and keep breathing. Keeping your hands spread wide during a pushup can feel convenient but it actually puts more stress on the body. Move your hands closer together to increase your range of movement and take some of the stress off your joints.
Do Them With a Stop at the Bottom
Most people keep a continuous thing going on when they’re doing pushups, maybe taking pauses at the top but not at the bottom of the move. However taking a full stop at the bottom of a pushup might increase its efficiency by a lot. Yes, it’s going to be harder, because it basically ensures that you can’t cheat. When you go up and down quickly there can be a sort of rubber band response from your muscle where it wants to pull back up anyway, which can lesson the work it takes. When you hit a full stop though you’re starting over from square one.
Add in an Incline
Creating an incline where your feet are elevated is a great way to add some natural resistance to a pushup. You can do this by putting your feet up on half of of a Bosu ball (which is lower and more stable than a full one), a bench, or anything else that you can safely prop your legs up onto. Be mindful when you’re getting up and down off the incline to avoid injury.
Create a Need For Balance
You can also make a pushup more effective my bringing in the need to balance, which will increase the amount of work that each muscle group will be doing. One way to do this is by putting your hands on a medicine ball instead of on the floor. It can be quite challenging, but it is also effective.
You can also add weight to your pushups if you want more than natural resistance. Weighted vests are a good option that allow for keeping your full range of movement and not requiring that anyone else come and place a weight on you. You can also mix and match some of these techniques as your strength increases, such as wearing a weighted vest while performing a pushup on an incline.