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Exercise 101: push ups

Exercise 101: push ups

There’s no mistaking how effective a good set of push-ups can be for your whole body but that’s only if you’re getting them right and your form is spot on. Perfect your push-up and then you’ll be ready to try out some of the below variations.

A Proper Push-Up

To maintain proper form in your push-up it is essential you keep your back flat, abs held in tight, backside down and your shoulders rotated so the crook of your elbow is pointing forwards. In this position your core is engaged and your shoulders are least likely to cause any discomfort.

If you find it difficult to push up from your wrists, you can use your knuckles.

Push-Up Problems

There are quite a few common mistakes that come when performing push-ups, especially in form.

If the lower back sags it suggests your core is weak and if your shoulders aren’t positioned properly, with the blades flaring out as you push-up then you need to work on the muscles which run alongside your rib cage, the serratus anterior.

If your core is weak then working more plank exercises into your workout will make a difference and mountain climbers are ideal for tackling the serratus anterior.

Get these problems sorted and you’ll be ready to try these push-up variations.

Push-Up Variations

T Push-Ups

Offering a whole body workout, the T push-up requires you to push as hard as you can from the bottom of your push-up into a side plank, lifting one arm as high as you can in a straight line, creating that T shape. Your supporting hand needs to sit directly below your shoulder and your hips need to be aligned. Lower yourself down slowly and switch to the other side.


Feet-Elevated Push-Ups

Designed to intensify your upper body workout and push your core even harder, a feet-elevated push-up is exactly what it sounds like. You simply do your regular push-up but you have your feet elevated on a stable platform such as a bench or a box. The higher the platform you choose the harder you work our chest, shoulders and core.


Diamond Push-Up

The Diamond Push-Up gives you the chance to focus closely on your triceps but it’s important to note the form required does put pressure on the wrists which is something you may want to consider in advance. A Diamond Push-Up begins like a normal push-up except you move your hands closer together, directly below your chest, with your index fingers and thumbs touching to create the diamond shape that gives it its name.


Spider-Man Push-Up

Inspired by the superhero himself, the Spider-Man push-up is another variation which intensifies your upper body workout and pushes your pectoral, deltoid and triceps muscles to their limit. As you lower to the ground in a regular press-up you simply need to pull one knee to the outside of your elbow and then repeat on the other side and you’re carrying out this variation. Adding the weight of your knee into the equation makes returning back to the start for the next push-up a little bit trickier.


the author

Jessica Ambrose

Jessica is a fitness writer who loves long distance running, yoga, strength training and healthy eating.