One of the first exercise that comes to mind when asked about working out is the Push Up. Although it is popular many people can’t do a basic push up with proper form. So in this Post I will address some common mistakes made by beginners and even experienced people who never quite learn the proper mechanics of doing a push up.
CUES FOR DOING A PUSH UP.
1. Get into a neutral spine position on the floor- Neutral spine basically means to maintain the same spinal position that you have when standing. So in simple terms you don’t what to overextend or over-flex your spine.
2. Screw your hands into the floor and create an external rotational torque - This does not mean to externally rotate your hands. What you are going to do is screw your hands into the floor and try to move the floor by externally rotate your hands. Chances are your hands are not going to move but what this does is create torque in your joints to keep everything tight, which will help you generate more power.
3. Keep your feet Wide-This rule does not apply if you are a pro and you are purposely keeping your feet close together to do an advanced push up. But if you are just starting off a wide stance feet position will distribute the weight a little more evenly and decrease the intensity while still helping you maintain proper form. The downfall of this is you lose the ability to fully contract your glutes.
4. Keep the Glutes contracted- One of the most important thing that people miss when doing a push up, is contracting the Glutal Muscles. When your glutes are not contracted it is very hard, almost impossible to keep a neutral spine position, and you will find that you have an arch in your back or your hips are sagging. When you contract the Glutes, it almost forces you to contract your core which helps to stabilize the spine and give you that nice neutral spine.
5. Keep your head aligned with your spine- This is one of the most common mistakes when doing a push up. People unconsciously tilt their head forward to touch the floor or lift your head up to look at a mirror. The problem with this is that it throws your body out of a proper mechanical position and put a lot of stress on your neck muscles, also it’s cheating. If your chest is only half way down and your head stretches out and touch the floor you won’t reap the benefits of doing a push up.
Here is a perfect example of a great push up position.
I found the Picture to the left while browsing the internet. It is a great example of a baby in a perfect push up position without any instruction. Look at the spinal position , it’s Neutral. Also Notice how tight this baby core is. This is a result of keeping her/his Glutual muscles fully contracted which forces the core to be contracted. Her/his head is fully alined with the spine.