Keys to a Perfect Push-Up

Some people do pushups so they can think to themselves, “hey… I did 20 pushups today!” That’s all fine and dandy, but let’s remember the reason pushups were invented: to improve fitness. If you only care about feeling high and mighty because you did pushups, by all means, continue. For those of us seeking to extract maximum fitness benefits from pushups, let’s keep in mind these tips to help us perform optimal pushups:

1. Warm-up. Pushups can be dangerous when done without a warm-up. By getting your blood pumping through some brisk walking or a short jog, not only will you reduce your risk of injury when doing a pushup, but you’ll also probably be able to complete more pushups!

2. Support the board. When doing a pushup, imagine you have a wooden board on your back that runs from your shoulder blades down to the backs of your knees. During your pushup, this board should be touching your body as fully as possible. In other words, don’t bend at the waist and cause your rear end to bring imbalance to the board.

3. Don’t lock out. The purpose of a pushup is to build the chest muscles. On the downward end of a pushup, don’t let your chest touch the ground. Doing so takes your weight off of your chest muscles and relieves it on the ground. Likewise, on the upward end of a pushup, don’t lock your elbows. Not only does this take the pressure off of your chest, but it applies a dangerous level of pressure to the joints in your elbows.

4. Mind your hands and feet. The positioning of your hands and feet is crucial to a good pushup. Your hands should be placed directly under each shoulder. Point your toes towards your head so that most of the pressure is on the balls of your feet rather than the tips of your toes.

5. Stretch. After completing your pushups, it is important to stretch your chest and shoulder muscles to prevent cramps and injury. A good stretch for the chest muscles is to place one outstretched arm fully against a wall, parallel to the ground, and twist your torso away from that arm.