If one of your goals is to achieve a full form push-up, listen up! I've worked with so many clients who have been frustrated at their lack of push-up progress. My first question is, "How have you been doing them?".
Most reply, "From the knees."
Doing push-ups from the knees may be holding you back! Why? After building the upper body strength you need with modified pushups, or pushups from the knees, you need to increase the challenge, and start recruiting your core. Otherwise, your strength will stay the same.
How do we progress the pushup?
If you follow these three progressions and practice with consistency, you'll be doing full form push-ups in no time.
Push-Up Plank: This teaches shoulder and core stability at the top of the pushup. Aim for 3 rounds of 0:30.
Hands Elevated Push-Ups: This is one of my favorite ways to practice the pushup. It recruits your abs and enables your body to practice the pushup from the fully extended position. You can adjust the challenge by lowering the platform as you get stronger.
Lowering the Knees Push-Ups: This is a great option for those who may not have a surface to safely elevate their hands from. This is also just a great alternative way to practice the pushup.
You could try sticking with just one variation, or changing the variations throughout the week or month to help you get stronger faster. If you would like help on how to program these variations into your workouts, I've actually already done the work for you! My monthly online training program, Lift Lab works pushups and all the progressions into the workouts so that you can properly work the pushup into your weekly workout routine!
Then finally, one beautiful day, you will be ready for...
When should you inhale and exhale in the pushup?
A great rule of thumb for when to breathe on any exercise is to exhale on exertion, or breathe out during the hardest part of the exercise. Think of a pushup. Is it harder to lower yourself to the ground, or is it harder to push your body back up? Pushing is the harder part! So, inhale as you lower, exhale as you push! This will help you engage your abs as well, crucial to pushup success!
The day you nail that first full form pushup will be a day you will never forget! As a coach, it is the most rewarding thing to watch someone push the ground away from them for the first time! I wish the same for you, and with consistent practice, I know you'll crush this goal!
Don't forget to check out Lift Lab, a monthly online training program customizable for all levels! The programming is done for you, taking all the guesswork out of your workouts!