The pushup seems like one of the most basic exercises, but for many it can be difficult to grasp.

 

In my experience training clients, women typically find pushups harder than men (due to physiological reasons), and those who are overweight struggle for obvious reasons.

 

Regardless of why, the ability to do a pushup isn’t something you’ll necessarily have just because you’re an adult.

 

Despite that, people use pushups as a basic performance metric and feel they’re lagging behind if they can’t do multiple pushups.

 

Well, when it comes to exercise perfect practice is what makes perfect, so mastering the form is key.

 

Now apart from the obvious use of the chest, the pushup itself is essentially a moving plank, with core strength often being the limiting factor (affecting your ability to transfer force).

 

It’s a lot harder to move your body when it’s unstable.

 

So, like any exercise, the appropriate tools for progression need to be implemented to address these limiting factors.

 

Here are my top four exercises to build your first pushup so you can progress onto more advanced variations.

Technique Points

As the actual technique points for each variation are pretty much the same,  I’ll write them here and add anything specific to the variation with the corresponding video.

 

  • Hands slightly wider than shoulder width 
  • Screw hands into the floor (without them actually rotating)
  • Brace core (like someone is going to punch you in the stomach)
  • Squeeze Glutes
  • Feet hip width apart
  • Lead with your chest 
  • Keep your elbows angled to the body (think of the shape of an arrow head if looking from a birds eye view).
  • Control the range of motion throughout

Incline Pushup - High Box

Use the technique points above, but lower your chest to the top of the platform.

Incline Pushup - Low Box

Use the technique points above, but lower your chest to the top of the platform.

Band Assisted Pushup

Use the technique points above, but use a light to medium resistance band around the hips (I’m using two light bands).

 

Squeeze your Glutes into the band and follow the technique points above.

Eccentric Pushup

Technique points above remain the same but you will be solely focusing on the lowering portion of the movement.

 

Lower yourself to the floor for 3-5 seconds, in a controlled and stable manner. Reset yourself and repeat.

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Sam is a Personal Trainer, Online Coach and Fitness Educator with background in achieving results for a variety of clients. Sam now specialises in Pain Free Performance, helping people across the world to achieve their goals safely and effectively. 

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