The path to achieving your first push-up may feel impossible. However, with a little consistency and a healthy dose of self-belief, it’s more than possible.
Whether you’re looking for something to do on your off-days, building a new routine or just trying to improve your general health, push-ups have many health benefits and are a great choice.
But before you do any of this, you must first learn the correct form of a push-up.
How to do a push-up
Many people looking to introduce push-ups into their routine start with poor posture and end up missing out on a lot of the benefits.
So even if you’re pretty confident you’re doing it right, here’s a quick recap on how to do a standard push-up:
- Start by kneeling with your feet together.
- Bend forward into a high plank with palms flat on the mat and hands shoulder-width apart.
- Slowly lower your whole body down towards the floor. Keep head and spine alignment and maintain a rigid torso.
- When ready, press upwards with your arms until you are fully extended and back in the original plank-style position.
- Repeat the downward movement for as many sets as you feel comfortable.
Now that we know how to do a push-up, here are some top tips on how to effectively engage the muscles during a push-up:
- Maintain a level back
- Keep hands firmly rooted on the floor
- Your butt should not be raised
- Do not hike your hips
The main thing is that your body begins by forming a straight line and stays in this straight line all-throughout the push-up.
Lifting your butt or curving your back is a common mistake that undermines the success of the exercise.
How to get your first push-up
Getting your first push-up can be as simple as getting down and giving it a go. However, for many of us, we’ll have to work our way up to the standard push-up.
Don’t try and plunge straight into it if you’re not ready. You’ll likely release the tension by lapsing into an incorrect posture, receive no fitness benefits and be left disheartened by the whole experience.
Instead of placing unrealistic expectations on yourself, the best thing you can do is create challenging yet sensible goals.
Everyone is different and the path to your first push-up will be unique. However, here is a rough guide filled with the best variations to get you started:
- Begin by practising a plank position (a great ab exercise in itself).
- Work on reverse push-ups. Start by lying down in this plank position with your chest on the ground and push up from there.
- Try a regular push-up from the same position however use your knees to support you.
- Once you’re comfortable with this, it’s time for your first pushup!
Obviously, this is just a rough guide and don’t stress if this feels too fast-paced for you. You need to feel comfortable progressing at your own speed.
Plus, there are plenty of other push-up variations you can try out, including wall push-ups and waist-high push-ups.
Benefits of push-ups
Push-ups are a simple exercise that uses your own body weight to stretch and strengthen your muscles.
Here are some of the main benefits of push-ups:
- Upper body strength. Push-ups work the triceps, pectoral muscles, shoulders and core.
- Fast and effective. Regular push-ups are a time-efficient exercise that requires no equipment and can be done from virtually anywhere.
- Adaptable. There are many variations of push-ups including knees, elevated and wall push-ups. This means there’s plenty of support for beginners and extension for the experienced.
Remember, all of this is just advice and you shouldn’t get too bogged down in someone else’s fitness plan, ideas, or goals.
Be realistic about your own skills. Forcing yourself to try and complete some arbitrary goal like 10 push-ups will lead to failure and you’ll be left disappointed with yourself.
Instead, you should focus on developing the skills slowly in order to tackle the exercise confidently.
The best thing you can do in order to achieve your first push-up is to be consistent. By practising variations consistently, you’ll gradually grow your skills.
But staying on track by yourself can be tough. If you want regular reminders and access to some of the best fitness coaches, be sure to download the OOMPH app today!