Continuing from last week’s blog post on how to do a proper push-up, this week’s blog is addressing the common mistakes that people make while doing push-ups. Keep your eye open for them – now you have the knowledge to do them better!
- Rotated Hand Position: Placing your hands on the ground incorrectly causes undue strain on the wrists and puts the elbow in an unstable position.
- Solution: Hands should be straight but slightly bent in elbows (even at the top position), fingers pointing straight ahead.
- POOR HEAD POSITION: A lot of people unintentionally or (intentionally) reach down with their head. This puts their neck in a strained position.
- Solution: Try to imagine a tennis ball space between your chin and upper chest(or you can hold a real one), which will align your spine and relieve pressure from your neck muscles.
- You’re holding your breath: This one is obvious, but quite often the most overlooked. You won’t be able to do many when you run out of oxygen.
- Solution: Just breathe normally. We like to exhale on the way up and inhale on the way down.
- Improper elbow position: Lots of people place their hands too far forward, so their elbows flare out to a 90º angle related to their torso, which puts a lot of strain on the shoulder joints.
- Solution: Position your hands so they run across your chest and not your shoulders. When lowering, the angle of your elbows relative to your torso should be roughly around 45º.
- Your butt sticks up: Push-ups are a great ab exercise, but a raised butt means that you’re not engaging your core.
- Solution: Engage your gluteus muscles (butt) by squeezing the cheeks together. This will help lower your butt and extend your hip down so your knee (for knee push-ups) and shoulder forms a straight line.
- Your back looks more like a hammock: Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your heels but you’ve hyper-extended your trunk and have not engaged your core.
- Solution: Raise your low back, and flex your abs, until your lower back is neutral, then maintain that posture throughout the movement.
Q: I can’t come back up when I reach the bottom – how do do the push-ups then?
A: It’s possible that your current strength level cannot support your bodyweight. You can train up your push-ups by doing ‘half-push-ups’ or ‘half-knee-push-ups’. By going down only halfway, you can gradually improve your push-up strength until you can go lower and lower. Be sure to keep pushing your limits as you won’t get stronger if you don’t extend beyond your boundaries.
Q: What other exercises can I do to supplement?
A: Try wide-grip push-ups, and do some dips to improve your strength in your chest & triceps.
Diagrams taken from Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy