Either you do your push-ups correctly, or you don’t do them at all. According to Classic Iron Kettlebells’ co-owner Doug Nepodal, performing the push-up with the correct techniques must be given as much importance as doing heavy lifts. More often than not, push-ups have been learned way back in grade school or in summer camps – neither of which are the best places to learn the correct techniques of doing the classic exercise. Here are some very useful tips.
Push Up, Then Pull Down
Strength is developed not only when pushing your weight up. Push-ups are great opportunities, too, to build the strength of your lats (latissimus dorsi), the biggest of the three muscles on the back. Do the usual push but don’t descend just yet. With your fingers and hand grabbing the floor, feel your lats harden as you pull (not simply fall with gravity) your chest down to the floor. Let that muscle power your next upward push and feel the difference between that execution and your regular push-up.
Place Your Hands On The Floor, But Not Too Far Apart
When hands are wide apart, the body is at a distance nearer the floor than when the hands are farther away. That’s an underhanded, pun intended, way to do less work. Instead, position palms in the same vertical position as your shoulders. With elbows closer to the body, the chest and triceps work harder, and as a result, they become stronger. The technique also prevents injuries to the shoulders which are usually caused by performing the exercise with hands placed very far apart.
Do Stretches Between Sets
Avoid excessive tightness which usually occurs when the body is subjected to high amounts of tension. Properly managed tension is beneficial for muscle strength and size. Without proper release, though, it creates an imbalance and pain, such as pulled shoulder muscles. After doing a set of pushing up and pulling down, lie down with your head and back on a Swiss Ball. Stretch your arms out perpendicular to the body and sink your hips down to the floor. Stay in that position for 10 breaths. This loosens the tension in your pecs and arms before you do another set.
Don’t Hang Your Head Like a Tired Dog Does
The correct push-up must be in a perfect slanted alignment from the ankle to the head. When descending, the first part of the body that touches the floor is the chest, not the face. An incorrect alignment will hurt the spine and may cause injury. Here’s a tip to gauge if your push-up is correctly done in terms of alignment. Imagine placing a broomstick or any straight edge on your back while doing a push-up. You’re correctly aligned if the straight edge touches your ****, the upper back, and the head.
When doing push-ups, it’s not about how many push-ups you perform. It’s how correctly you perform them for optimum benefits.