push up
Traditional push-ups are good for strengthening the muscles of your upper body, as well as your abdominal muscles, hips, and legs.

Push-ups are one of the best exercises to strengthen the muscles of your upper arms and chest. However, when performed correctly, they can be good for muscles all over your body, including:

  • Abdominal muscles
  • Hips
  • Legs

Push-ups can be performed anywhere without the use of any equipment and are an effective way to use your body weight to:

  • Burn calories
  • Improve your balance, posture, and flexibility
  • Prevent injuries of the shoulders and lower back
  • Enhance your performance in sports

How to do push-ups

Initially, you may feel it is very hard to do push-ups. Gradually, you will be able to master the technique and be able to perform them. Here are the steps to do a push-up.

  1. Start in a plank position. Your face should be down and your body should be straight.
  2. Your palms should be placed flat on the ground slightly wider than your shoulders.
  3. Your arms should make a straight line with your shoulders.
  4. Keep your feet together (or about 12 inches apart), with your weight maintained on the balls of your feet.
  5. Keep your back straight and avoid putting your weight only on one part of the body. Your weight should be balanced by your whole body.
  6. Lower your body toward the ground making sure your elbows make 90-degree angles as you go down.
  7. Then push back up to the starting position.

Remember, maintaining proper form during push-ups is more important than the speed and number of the push-ups performed. Make sure there are controlled movements during the exercise.

If you want to derive maximum benefits from push-ups, lower your body slowly, hold for two seconds, and bring it up quickly in one second.

Is there an easier version of a push-up?

If you are a beginner and find doing the basic or typical push-up hard to perform, you can try an easier version first, called the frog push-up, and then shift gradually to the full version.

Frog push-up

  1. Get into the four-point stance with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Your arms should be placed slightly wider than the shoulders, feet joined together, and knees pointing outward.
  2. Lift your hips above the ground.
  3. Lower your body by bending your elbows. Lower your face toward the ground.
  4. Keep moving up and down while keeping the elbows moving out to the sides.

How to get a good form for push-ups

Before performing pushes, make sure your shoulders are placed in the proper and most powerful position. This ensures that the right muscles are involved during the push-ups.

Before starting a push-up, maintain straight arms and pull the shoulder blades down the back and together as if you are trying to put your scapula bone (shoulder blade) in its pocket. Maintain this position of the shoulder blades as you lower down and bring your back up.

You can perform plank reaches to maintain a good form during the push-ups.

Plank reaches

  1. Get into a plank position with your hands placed right under the shoulders and feet set wide.
  2. Extend one hand in front of your body and then bring it back to the starting position.
  3. Perform with the other hand while maintaining a rigid posture.

Plank reaches help you improve whole-body stability, thereby preparing your trunk and shoulders for balancing the weight of your body during the push-ups.

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Medically Reviewed on 11/24/2021
References
Image Source: iStock Images

American Council on Exercise. Push-up. https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/exercise-library/41/push-up/

American Council on Exercise, 4 Moves to Help You Master the Push-Up. https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/professional/expert-articles/5553/4-moves-to-help-you-master-the-push-up/

American Council on Exercise. How to Supercharge Push-ups. https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/blog/3719/how-to-supercharge-push-ups/