When it comes to push-ups, I'm a total fanatic. You can do them anywhere and they work so many parts of your body at once. The only gripe I have with one of my favorite exercises is that it's easy to get it wrong if nobody is watching your form. That can lead to lower back strain or shoulder injuries, and it pains me when I notice people doing push-ups incorrectly at the gym. Here are the tips I'd give most often if I didn't have restraint.
- Angle your elbows toward your waist. Your elbows should be on a diagonal toward your waist to avoid shoulder strain. Do your push-ups facing or parallel to a mirror so you're able to see the angle of your arms.
- Pull in your abs. Engage your abs and tuck your hips forward to protect your lower back. Turn horizontally to the mirror — if your abs are sagging, there will be a sway in your lower back. You want to avoid that.
- Lift your chin: Whether you're doing push-ups on your toes or on your knees, there should be a straight line from the top of your head through your lower back. Achieve the straightness by lifting your chin away from your chest and looking slightly forward.
To see four more tips,
- Grip your glutes. Engaging your glutes will help to stabilize your mid-section and will enable you to put more power into your push-ups.
- Exhale on your way up. Don't hold your breath! You'll maximize every rep by exhaling as you push yourself up.
- Turn your fingertips in just a bit. Place your hands with your fingertips facing forward, and then turn your hands toward each other just slightly. This minimizes wrist strain and is the optimal placement for being able to angle your elbows toward your waist.
- Go the full range. Don't cheat yourself by using only a half-range of motion. Your chest should nearly touch the floor at your lowest point; it's much more effective and you'll get stronger more quickly when you push yourself to the fullest.