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With summer around the corner, it's time to jump start your workout routine. Today I want to discuss the proper form in pushups. You're probably wondering why I would discuss something so simple?! As a fitness instructor, I am constantly correcting clients during pushups. By mastering correct form, you will strengthen your chest, shoulders, triceps, and core.
Start off in a straight arm plank (plank previously discussed here) with arms wider than shoulders, back flat, seat is tight, head in line with spine, and abs drawn in. When you bend your elbows, it is important to lead with your chest, and not with your head.
Feel free to modify your pushups by dropping to your knees. You can even do pushups on the wall. Simply stand upright, place your hands on the wall, lean toward the wall, and do your pushups from there. Theses modifications are great if you have shoulder or wrist injuries.
Now lets talk about incorrect form. The most common mistakes that I see are either people leading with their head or letting their hips push forward toward the ground. Both of these are examples of people losing their "abdominal connection."
If you tend to lead with your head, you may have poor posture or you might have weak chest muscles. I would recommend coming down to your knees for pushups. If you tend to push your hips downward chances are that you may feel pressure on the lower back. Once again, try sucking your abs in tight like you are wearing a corset, giving you a flat back.
Congrats, you have mastered form! Now we can have some fun! Instead of the boring bend and press, try adding some of these moves...
Do an isometric hold when you're halfway down.
Add 3 short pulses at the bottom of your pushup.
Bend/press then extend R arm out with L leg extended, and hold. Repeat again, and do the opposite arm and leg (great core workout).
Bend/press then come to a side arm plank, and hold 20 seconds. Come back to center, and repeat side arm plank for the other side (this gives attention to your obliques).
Diamond out the hands.