Common Push-Up Mistakes


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We all know push-ups are a great way to burn fat and maintain a lean physique throughout the chest and shoulders, but they shouldn’t be approached recklessly or incorrectly. Push-up mistakes can have effects that range from rendering them less effective as a fitness tool all the way to flat-out making them dangerous. When you’re doing your push-ups, make sure to avoid these common push-up mistakes:

Locking Elbows

Many people begin a series of push-ups with a goal in their mind. “I’m going to do twenty-five push-ups,” they think to themselves. But as they plow through number eighteen, and nineteen, they feel themselves becoming fatigued. In this situation, many people will lock their elbows at the top of the push-up cycle and rest for a few seconds before lowering themselves again. In doing so, a lot of unhealthy strain is placed on the elbows. Remember, the goal of push-ups is to exercise the chest, shoulders, and triceps. These muscles should be bearing the load of your body weight during the exercise, not the elbow joints. Ideally, a series of push-ups shouldn’t involve locking one’s elbows. At the top of a push-up cycle, stop just before your elbows lock. This will keep the pressure on the muscles that the exercise is targeting.

Pushing It Too Far

Losing weight, getting in shape, building muscle mass — these are all things that require discipline over a long period of time to achieve one’s goal. There is no such thing as a “get fit quick” scheme. However, many people will do push-ups as though it’s possible to look like Rocky within an hour. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to have enthusiasm regarding your fitness regimen, but don’t overdo it. By pushing yourself too hard, too fast, you can injure yourself or cause painful cramps. It’s hard to “get buff” when you’re sidelined with a strained chest muscle. Drink plenty of water and always remember that, in fitness, slow and steady wins the race.

Incorrect Breathing

Rhythmic breathing is absolutely essential to proper push-ups. It’s simple: on the way down, breathe in, and on the “push-up”, exhale. This breathing pattern should be as much a part of your push-ups as anything else. Breathing in sync with the exercise isn’t just healthy for your body, it will also enable you to complete more repetitions by maintaining good oxygen levels while exerting one’s self.

Hot-dogging It

In the arena of solitude, this probably isn’t a problem. However, many-a-push-up related injuries have occurred at the gym or amongst close friends at home while trying to look like a push-up hot shot. The added adrenaline rush you receive from having people watch you might seem like it’s enough to help you complete that impossible push-up or beat a friend in a contest, but it’s just a mirage. It may seem like everything is going great while you surpass a personal push-up record while dueling with a buddy, but chances are your body will regret it the next day.