Drop and give me 10! Well, that ain’t gonna happen, you might be thinking. But push-ups are a great exercise. The key is good form and good body mechanics. Otherwise, you won’t get the most out of the exercise. Where do people tend to go wrong? Bad positioning of their elbows and hips, says my whip cracking strength coach Andy Wight.
A lot of times people have the tendency to flare their elbows out, which opens the shoulder up to injury. We want to take the elbows in and create more of an arrow shape.
The second part is a lot of people tend to have their hips up too high, so they don’t engage their core or their glutes and we want to try to keep all of that engaged.
Push-ups are challenging. No question. Why bother doing them? Because they hit a lot of muscles.
They’re essentially a full body exercise, but they really target the pecs in the front, a little bit of the shoulder and the triceps in the back. At the same time, they also hit a lot of other muscles in through the upper body and the midsection.
Andy demonstrates proper (and improper) form in this short video we shot at his gym the other day. He also talks about the benefits of doing push-ups.
Got it? Good. Now drop and give me 10! No more excuses.
What’s your favorite exercise?
Hands lined up underneath the shoulders, body in a nice straight line from ear to heel, just lowering straight down in a straight line and coming right back up, Again, making sure everything stays engaged. And then we’re going to go From there we’re going to go to a modified, so knees on the ground everything stays the same.
What is it people do wrong?
The tendency with a pushup is people will actually go here and just shorten the motion and they actually have no range of motion at all or their hips are up too high and they’re almost in more of a pipe position.
So, this modified version — does that give you as much bang for your buck as doing the regular version?
It does. With a push-up, there’s two things or two different ways you can look at it. A push up is either a strength exercise or more of a conditioning exercise. If you do less than 10 reps it’s more of a strength exercise, so you building your strength. If you can’t use the full body, going to the knees allows you to use a little less body weight but also allows you to get a deeper range of motion or that same range of motion all the way down and all the way back up.
So, push-ups are an important part of an exercise routine?
They are and they’re one of the exercises that everybody leaves out most often just because they’re challenging to do and it’s one of those exercises we can do at any point in time because it takes no equipment.
Hello! I'm Diane Atwood. For many years, I was the health reporter on WCSH6. Now I write Catching Health with Diane Atwood. I also produce and host Conversations About Aging, which is a Catching Health podcast. I love what I do and hope you will too.