One of the most difficult workout moves to master is the push-up. It necessitates significant muscular and core strength development. It’s also critical to maintain good form. If you don’t use proper form, you risk injuring yourself (delaying your growth even more) and slowing the development of tangible improvements in your performance over time.
Push-ups, like many other forms of exercise, get easier with practise. “If you’re just getting started with push-ups, you’ll probably need to do a lot of strengthening in your core, wrists, arms, and shoulders,” says Steve Stonehouse, NASM CPT, USATF, certified personal trainer and director of education at STRIDE. “You might feel pain in your wrist at first, which means you need to work on mobility and stability,” says Stonehouse.
“Aside from technique, you’ll need to build up strength to keep your core engaged and your body straight while doing push-ups, as well as focus on breathing properly,” he explains. If you’re having trouble improving your push-ups, here are a few hidden culprits to look out for, as well as some advice on how to improve.
The proper way to perform a push-up is as follows:
According to a personal trainer, there are a few things you can do to improve your push-ups.
1. Remember to take a deep breath.
Because you’re not giving your body enough new oxygen and tightening up your chest (if you’re holding your breath with each rep), breathing incorrectly can make push-ups needlessly difficult. So, don’t forget to take a deep breath! “A shortage of oxygen causes you to become fatigued more rapidly because your muscles aren’t getting the oxygen they require,” Stonehouse explains.
2. Make sure you’re doing push-ups correctly.
You could be missing out on growing better at push-ups as well as putting yourself at risk of muscle stress or injury, such as tightness or a spasm in your neck and shoulders, if you don’t do them correctly. It’s also extremely inconvenient, and the discomfort can spread to other parts of the body, such as the back.
You must keep your core tight, your back flat as though in plank position, and your arms at the same level as your chest—and this form is frequently done incorrectly, with the back bending a little and the arms not bent at the ideal angle.
Stonehouse recommends starting with your chest and stomach against the floor, your legs straight behind you, and your arms at the same level as your chest, bent at a 45-degree angle. Then exhale while pushing up with your hands, keeping your feet stable and squeezing your quads, glutes, and core. Keep your body in the plank position for a few seconds, then exhale as you return to your starting posture.
3. Experiment with different push-up variations.
If you aren’t yet strong in your arms and shoulders, as well as your core, attempting a traditional push-up may be too much at once. Instead, you might want to start with incline push-ups or one of the numerous other push-up varieties.
“Place your hands on an object with a 12 inch elevation, such as a box or bench,” he advises, “because this takes some of the stress off your pushup and allows you to build up early strength.” It also helps you avoid wrist soreness, which might occur when doing push-ups for the first time. “Practice three sets of five to ten reps, increasing reps after a few days if you feel good,” he advises.
4. Gradually increase the number of reps to raise the intensity.
So you’ve noticed an improvement? Rather than completing your standard push-ups with a higher number of repetitions, try adding additional resistance and a challenge by reducing reps but increasing intensity—this will help you gain strength and focus on that specific muscles.
“Cut back on your reps and add a 10-20 second countdown as you lower yourself, then countdown 10-20 seconds, whatever is fair for you, then push up to arms extended, and repeat,” Stonehouse advises. This will help to increase your strength and stability. Begin with three to five reps and gradually increase as your strength improves.
A box can also be used to increase the difficulty. Place your feet on a raised item while keeping your hands on the ground. “This puts more attention, weight, on your shoulders, arms, and core, and it will help experienced pushup doers continue to improve their anterior chain and upper body muscular groups,” he explains.
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