You probably think you already know how to do push-ups correctly. You might be right about that, or you might be very wrong. In this article and video, we’ll discuss proper technique, which muscles are targeted, and how to perform regular push-ups, close position push-ups, wide position push-ups, elevated push-ups, knee push-ups, and “Perfect Push-ups.”
Regular push-ups should be performed with your arms approximately shoulder-width apart, your back straight, and your head tilted slightly up. Keep your feet tight together, with your toes on the ground. As you go down, the only thing moving should be your arms. Try to keep your shoulders in somewhat, instead of letting them jut outward.
Any type of push-up targets mainly your pectorals (chest muscles) and triceps (the arm muscles on the back of your arm). It also works your abdominal muscles somewhat, as well as your deltoid muscles (shoulders). The farther apart you put your hands during a push-up, the more your pectorals are worked. The closer you put your hands together during a push-up, the more your triceps are worked.
Elevation also effects push-up difficulty and muscle activation. If you elevate your feet onto a chair or bench and do push-ups, the difficulty is increased, and the upper section of your pectorals are worked harder. Your deltoids are also activated more. The same is true when doing a handstand push-up. If you do knee push-ups, the difficulty is decreased. If you are unable to do a single regular push-up, you can do knee push-ups. You should also try doing negative push-ups. To perform a negative push-up, assume a regular push-up position and slowly lower yourself to the ground. Then get back into the starting position by using your legs/knees/feet.
Perfect Push-ups are another great addition to your push-up arsenal. This product might seem a little gimmicky, but it actually works. They were invented by a Navy SEAL — someone who knows push-ups better than anyone. While they can’t replace regular push-ups, they are better in that they are harder (about twice as hard) and work your biceps a bit as well, thanks to the twisting motion. Regular push-ups, on the other hand, do not really work your biceps. Perfect Push-ups also aren’t as hard on your wrists, thanks to the handles. You can do Perfect Push-ups in wide, regular, and close positions. Watch the video below for a complete demonstration.
The problem with push-ups in general is that you cannot increase the weight as your strength increases, unless you wear weight vests or something similar. A better alternative after developing strength with the push-up is to move on to bench pressing, which allows easy adjustment of weight. This does not render the push-up as useless, however. Push-ups are still great because they can be done anywhere, and they are very effective for building your muscular endurance. That’s why Navy SEALs do so many of them.
So what are you waiting for? GO DO PUSH-UPS.
The information provided in the video below is similar to that written above, but with visual examples. I know, I’m skinny. The video is a little old. Deal with it.