The Perfect Push Up



Like most people who begin their fitness journey, you are focused, excited and ready for change. You will step foot in the gym for the first time with no plan, no knowledge of how to use the machines and have no idea how to use free weights. You will take a second to think about what you can possibly start with that is simple, requires no equipment, but trains the upper body and you will probably want to do all of this without looking like a newbie. Can you take a guess? It’s known by millions, used to test the level of fitness in the military and used in those epic films where the action stars are sweating, pumping iron and training as they prepare to win the boxing match - which all sounds very similar to Rocky. Have you guessed it yet? It is the PUSH UP. Push ups were as hard as bricks when I began working out. They certainly weren’t easy (like most exercises) for me and they were something I pushed aside for too long. I steered towards the machines and free weights, which were basically the cool stuff I saw in the magazines and online. That was the whole reason why I went to the gym, I wasn’t going for push ups - I could do those anywhere?! In hindsight, I wish I had done the opposite. I neglected push ups due to my lack of knowledge at the time and I didn't understand how the push up is the foundation to all pressing exercises you progress onto. A lot of gym goers start with press ups - I see it all the time. Women in particular like to start with push ups because they often feel that their upper bodies lack strength. What I often notice is that people will drop down to the floor, attempting to push out as many reps possible to near enough failure with bad form. Believe me when I say this - I love it that females in particular are going after what they want and not just shying away in the cardio section. The main problem is that they are using incorrect form and in addition to this, they have not yet built the level of strength needed to go into 'full press up mode'. You can’t just jump into the deep end like that as it only sets you up for frustration. I am going to break down the steps to mastering this exercise if you are still new to it or even if you are far into your fitness journey, yet still desperate to concur push ups and make them a strong point. Firstly, you need to look at the from a physics point of view. When in a full press up position you are resisting the weight of yourself from head to toe. The force in you pulling down and the resistance is your weight on way back up. If we can remove some weight it becomes easier. So, by lowering the knees to the floor or changing the angle of our body (so imagine leaning on your kitchen top let’s say, you reduce the weight bearing down) we make what was initially impossible to just about manageable for you. Now that you have made the exercise safer, proper form can be monitored and you are now competent in your ability to nail it! Where you should start?