I know lots of you are working on your pushups, trying to get 5 pushups in a row. I have a couple of strategies here for you.
First of all, don’t rush getting onto your toes on the pushup too soon because the quality of your pushup will suffer. It’s much better to get higher quality push ups with lower quantity than the opposite.
The actual hand position on the pushup is important. Ensure that the thumb side of the hand is right beside the shoulders. If your hands are too narrow you’re going to be taxing the triceps and that won’t allow the shoulders and the chest to help out as much. The head position is also important. Drop your head so that your eyes are just looking forward; you don’t want to be looking up too much because the hips will drop and if you drop the head too much the buttocks is going to go too high. You want to maintain a straight line from the ears to the shoulders to the hips and then to the toes.
One tip to increase your push ups from no reps to five reps is by just holding a plank position. This strengthens the upper back and core. Once you can do this for up to 30 seconds, you’re ready to move onto the pushup.
Start in a high plank position, that is, with the body in a plank position on the hands. Then slowly lower yourself down to the floor. This will work the eccentric contraction. Then rest. Repeat this process: get into the high plank position, and then lower yourself slowly to the ground. This phase of lowering or lengthening of the muscles builds strength; it’s not necessarily the actual pushing up portion of the movement that builds strength. While you work the full range of motion, get into the high plank position anyway you can, you don’t necessarily have to do the push up to get in this position. Then just slowly lower your body down until your chest is touching the ground. This is your first strategy.
The pushup relies heavily on core strength and so the plank is brilliant in helping you develop the core strength needed to do quality push ups. If you can’t maintain your core strength during the push up, your body tends to get fish-like. The plank position will help build the necessary strength for push ups, here are some cues: shoulders down and back, palms up, shoulders right over the top of the elbow, hips down, eyes just directly forward and tuck that tummy in. The plank position is also great for developing shoulder stability. The longer you can hold this position, the more you’re going to improve the push up. Your goal is to increase the plank position time to about a minute.
The surprising exercise that I want to show you today is the dumbbell row. Many would think “why would I do a row to help my pushup?” Upper back and shoulder stability is really important in pushup. The dumb bell row is very helpful to develop this.
To get into the proper position and execute the dumb bell row, do the following:
• brace yourself on the bench by placing one hand on the bench while the other grips the dumb bell
• keep a flat back through out the motion
• bring the dumbbell up to the ribs and slowly lower it down directly towards the ground as the line of gravity would pull
Those are my three tips today in order to increase the quantity and quality of your push ups from one to five:
- Work on the eccentric contraction or lowering portion of the motion
- Work on holding the plank position for up to a minute
- Work on upper back strength and shoulder stability by doing the dumbbell row
That’s how you do 5 pushups.