I’ve dealt with various clients from a wide age range as well as training experience. One of the most common observations I make overall are that the majority of people cannot perform a proper push-up.
Of all things, the push-up, one of the most basic exercises out there that everyone has come across at some point of their life is not being performed correct by most of the population. I’m sure you have seen countless efforts of people attempting to do a push-up and ultimately failing.
What exactly does a correct performed push-up show?
Yes, there is the obvious answer. Chest. The pectoralis major is the primary pushing muscles during the movement. Then of course the chest is being assisted by the triceps and stabalized/assisted by the shoulders. That’s the basics.
But a properly performed push-up also can show proper glute activation and core stability. I’ve observed people in the gym doing push-ups but their hips sag toward the ground and it looks more like they are doing more of a shrug than a push-up.
If this is you, then I would tell you to stop what you are doing and let’s fix you.
Stop doing Push-ups! Yes, that’s right. If you know you can’t properly perform 10 proper push ups then you need to stop. You too guys, I’m talking about full push-ups. None of this half ass push-up when all you do is just pulse up and down.
So stop doing push-ups, and Plank it up!
Before you can perform a proper plank and hold it for at least 1 minute without your hips rising or falling, you should stay away from push-ups. Push-up are great for a chest workout but there is a lot more going on in your body than just working your chest. Everything starts from the core. If your core can’t handle staying stable during a basic movement you have to fix the problem.
So put the push-ups to the side, and start planking. Once you can hold a proper plank for a minute for 3 sets, then you can give push-ups a try again. Here is how to do a proper plank:
1. Lie face down on mat resting on your forearms
2. Push off the floor, raising up onto toes and resting on your forearms
3. Keep your back flat, in a straight line from head to toes
4. Contract the quads to lock out knees
5. Contract the glutes as hard as possible
6. Look down and keep head in a neutral position
This is just a quick step towards increasing your core and shoulder stability as well as glute activation. Everyone needs to activate some glutes.