Most people assume that doing pushups is fairly simple because it really looks like it is an easy thing to do. It’s just a matter of taking a prone position with both palms on the floor and toes holding up the body, and then pushing down and going up alternately until you get tired or completed the required reps.
However, there is really more to it than that. Most people are not aware that there is a better way to do pushups, which produces better results as well. Actually, there are 5 better ways you can perform this exercise that will maximize your results. They are still very simple, and yet their results are enhanced.
1. Squeeze in a business card in both your armpits
By imagining that you have something as thin as a business card in your armpits while doing your pushups will enable you to target your lat muscles so that they can help you do the movements. This will also keep your upper body as solid and stable as possible.
Sean Dispelaere, an expert trainer for Men’s Health Thrive says: “Screwing your hands into the floor will get you 90-percent of the way there.”
“Achieve the remaining 10 percent by trying to squeeze your armpit as tightly as possible,” he adds.
2. Pull your palms to your toes
While doing pushups, your tendency is to allow your torso to sag or bow, especially when you’re doing so many reps and you are not using a mirror to check your form.
Sean Dispelaere says: “But this cue actually helps you contract your core – like a mini crunch – enough to keep your back flat and your torso stable.”
Once your upper body is fully in position, try to pull your hands towards your feet by tightening your core.
3. Fasten your hands tightly into the floor
If you screw your hands tightly into the floor, you will create torque, or an external rotational force between the floor and your hands. Sean Dispelaere says: “That force naturally provides tension in your arms, shoulders, and upper back that will help you maintain a solid upper body throughout the movement.”
Tightly grip the floor with your hands while driving your palms down and twist them as if you were trying to rip the floor between them. Rotate your elbows and biceps so that they will be facing forward.
4. Keep your neck in line with your spine
Doing pushups is not really completely safe if you are not doing it right. “If you allow your head to reach towards the floor or tilt too far upward, you’re putting your spine at risk of injury,” warns Sean Dispelaere.
You are also increasing the likelihood of your head bobbing back and forth, where you might think you are doing it right when in fact you are not. Just keep your neck in a neutral position so that your body can form a straight line from your head to your feet. This will enable you to have complete control of your movements.
Don’t look straight out in front or tuck your chin. Just pick a spot on the floor approximately 6 to 10 inches forward and keep your eyes locked on it as you do your reps. This position will keep your neck and your body in a straight line.
To determine if you have the right form, begin by going into a pushup position. And then ask a friend or a family member to place a broomstick on top of your back. The broomstick should touch your head, upper back, and butt. If they are all touching the broomstick, that means you have the right form.
However, if the broomstick doesn’t touch all of these body parts, just adjust your position so that they will all do. And hold this position throughout the entire reps.
5. Draw your shoulders back
When performing pushups, most people would let their shoulders shrug up around their ears. This position is not good because it will put your neck and upper back in a compromised form.
Sean Dispelaere says: “Not only are they not working to keep your upper body as one rock-solid unit, but it’s also putting you at risk for injury, since movement in your shoulders when you perform the exercise will push your neck around.”
The right thing to do is to pull your shoulders down and away from your ears and toward your feet. And then imagine that you are drawing your shoulder blades together as if they are meeting in the middle. This position will engage all your back muscles.