November 14, 2018
The Best Push-Ups

The Best Push-Ups

by Berkeley Wellness  

Push-ups are one of the best upper-body exercises. But to get the benefits, you have to do them right.

Classic push-up. Place hands on ground, facing forward, shoulder width apart. Keep feet together. Start with elbows straight, but never locked. Keep body in a straight line, with abdominal muscles tightened. Don’t sag in the middle or raise your buttocks. Take 3 seconds to lower chest to within a few inches of floor, pause for a second, then push up slowly. Inhale going up, exhale going down. Work up to 10 to 15 push-ups.

To make them easier:

On your knees. Use classic pushup form, but keep knees on the ground (see photo above). You can use a cushion under your knees if needed.

The "let down." Begin in the "up" position of the classic push-up, then slowly lower yourself a few inches at a time, keeping body aligned, until chest touches the floor. Relax for a moment. Then, using your knees, return to the starting position and repeat.

To make them harder:

Raised legs. Place feet on a chair or step (see video above).

Wide arms. Keep hands wide apart with elbows directly over them to work chest and shoulder muscles more.

Close grip. Place hands close together under chest to work arm muscles more.

Push-up bars. These small U-shaped metal hand grips raise your hands off the floor, letting you lower your body more for a harder exercise. They also help avoid wrist pain.

***Classic pushup and bent-knees variation images from the American Council on Exercise.