Understanding the basics of your push-ups (And getting your first one right!)

The Push-ups — a staple in ANY strength training regimen, are often underrated by some enthusiasts OR seen as a major obstacle for some of us who are new in strength training overall.

Well we’ll get into how it SHOULD NOT be an obstacle in a bit…

The major components of your Push-up would be your :

  • Plank – Hands placed underneath the shoulders onto the floor with your torso and legs straight and engaged.
  • Shoulders engaged – (Protraction) Spread your shoulder blades  away from each other in order to squeeze your chest and gain more pushing power
  • Neutral Spine – (Flat Back) By engaging your core and squeezing your bum, we aim to maintain a flat back from head to tail bone.
  • Legs – straight and squeeze your quads.
  • Arms – Arms straight with the eyes of the elbows facing forward. Bend at the elbows to lower yourself down to the ground while maintaining the above positions.

So with the major components laid down, here are our top two drills that can get all of the above into place to getting over the obstacle of your FIRST pushup!

1. Plank with shoulder Protraction

  • Spending time in your Plank will build the necessary core + wrist + shoulder & arm strength necessary to bring your torso low and high in that full pushup from the floor!
  • Add the movement of spreading the shoulder blades away (a.k.a. Protraction) AND together (a.k.a. Retraction) to build strength in your shoulders and feel the difference of an efficient and inefficient position

2. Negative (Eccentric) Push-up

  • Once you obtain a strong 30-60 second plank, start lowering yourself in the plank position with your elbows moving by the sides of your ribs as you lower your body to the floor. The closer your elbows are to your ribs, the more your chest and your arms can push you back up to the plank with better force! — start with knees on the floor to lighten the load if need be!
  • Start with your palms facing outwards to the sides if your wrists are strained facing forwards — it may not be ready to bear your full bodyweight yet! Include rocking the shoulders forward and back (wrist rocks) with palms on the floor to prepare your wrist for this drill!

The above progressions here makes it clear that it is not a BIG obstacle — you are surely able to achieve your first pushup — and beyond!

Safe Training!

Written by

Putera Norman
Nirvana Strength Coach