Next-Level Push-Ups

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Build Your Foundation

Nailing perfect push-up form is deceptively tough. “I always see people doing pushups incorrectly, which can make the exercise feel harder and result in injury,” says Joel Seedman, PhD, owner of Advanced Human Performance in Atlanta. So before attempting the move full out, use these beginner exercises to rehearse proper positioning and strengthen the primary muscles involved in push-ups. Do three teams of eight reps of every exercise (if you can) 3 or 4 times a week, and you will be doing a perfect push-up out of your toes in no time.

Single-arm dumbbell presses (with your back on the ground and knees bent, or on a bench with feet on the floor) challenge the core and chest and test your stability within the same ways push-ups do, says Seedman.

Place your hands at bellybutton height on the barbell on the Smith machine at the gym or use them a countertop at home. “The higher both your hands are in accordance with feet, the simpler the push-up motion is going to be,” Seedman says. (As that angle becomes simpler, move the bar on the Smith machine to a lower notch, or look for a lower surface in your home.)

This obvious modification is surprisingly challenging when done correctly. “It’s no more than 20 percent easier than a full push-up,” Seedman highlights. Elevate your feet off the floor, as opposed to leaving them resting on the floor, Seedman says. This can make you continue to work harder to interact your core, also it pushes the torso forward in to the correct position for any full push-up.

Increase Your Repetitions

If that you can do five to 10 full push-ups with proper form, “you’re at the intermediate stage,” says Tony Gentilcore, a Boston-based certified strength and conditioning specialist. Now you’re all set for quantity and quality.

Tally 20 push-ups over the course of your day, every day, to build the endurance to do 20 all at once. Break them into teams of five, spread out however you want.

“Lower yourself down for 3 seconds, then push back up for just one,” suggests Gentilcore. “This variation is tougher, so you may simply be able to do a few reps.”

The top of a push-up is basically an isometric plank. Add planks to your routine to build the ab strength required for push-ups.

Add Power

You can already bang out 20 amazing push-ups? Raise the intensity with one of these variations that manipulate your own bodyweight or introduce resistance tools.

Loop a resistance band around your upper back and hold in each hand to increase tension while you lift the body up, Gentilcore suggests.

Place one hand on the sliding disk, and slide your arm out while you do the push-up, pulling it in as you return to the starting position. “This forces a number of your body weight farther from your center of gravity, making the move harder,” Gentilcore says.

Elevate the feet on the box or bench. “This increases the flexibility,” says Seedman, “and targets top of the chest a bit more, so even towards the top of the exercise, you won’t ever seem like you’re resting.”