In this article, you will find a detailed explanation on how to do push-ups properly, which will allow us to improve strength in the chest, triceps and shoulders, and increase the number of reps. Specifically, the muscles involved in this movement are mainly the shoulders, pectorals, serratus, triceps, and the rectus abdominis.
We start on the ground with our hands shoulder-width apart. We extend the legs and keep the body aligned; this means that our shoulders, chest and hips must form a line.
Next, we must keep our core tight at all times. Almost no one considers this very important aspect because it is very difficult to keep the abdominal area under control throughout the movement. Let's think that our hands and feet are a point of support, but between the hands and the feet, all the strength of our body comes from our centre. Therefore, we must activate it as if it were another point of support and we must keep our core tight throughout the movement.
This takes us to the next step, which is to descend by controlling the movement with the whole body. It is common to see people doing push-ups with an arched back and that is a sign that the abs are not being activated. However, if we activate the abdominal area at all times we will go up with our whole body as if it were a compact block. In a way, it is as if we were also pushing with the abs and not only with the arms, shoulders and chest. In this way, weight is released from the two support points, improving technique and resistance, and optimizing our performance. Therefore, it is very useful to apply it when we want to do our maximum number of reps, although at first it can be complicated.
Breath control is another very important aspect of push-ups. It is convenient to breathe out while we extend our arms because, if we do the opposite, we would run out of air to go up. With a few reps, it is not so evident, but if we work with extra weight that would require much more effort, we must optimize the breathing technique. While it is true that the effectiveness of these techniques varies depending on the person, it is convenient to find the one that best suits us based on our workouts.
Finally, we will explain the technique of full range and partial range movement. As we have said, the ideal would be to lower completely until the chest touches the ground. However, for a beginner this can be difficult, so one option would be to use the partial range and do the push-ups halfway up. However, it is not convenient to get used to always working them like this. If you were a beginner, it would be more effective to make negative push-ups, controlling the descent. This will help you gain strength and gradually increase your number of reps.
As we have seen, push-ups are a very complete exercise that will help you gain strength and can be used as a complement to other exercises (bench press, parallel dips, etc.). Moreover, you can incorporate many variations into your routines. In Calisteniapp you can find for free several chest workouts such as this homemade push-ups routine or this push-ups challenge. Likewise, in the Smart Progress of shoulder and triceps and pectoral and triceps, you will find routines that will adjust to your level as you progress.
Written by Johanna Suárez Hernández