The push-up is single most important upper body exercise, without a doubt. Check out the video and bulleted points to ensure you’re maximizing benefits and minimizing risks.
- Start with the your feet together, up on your toes.
- Place hands shoulder width apart, slightly below your shoulders (closer to your feet), arms straight but not locked.
- This position minimizes the strain in the shoulder and can marginally change the focus of the exercise.
- Maintain a straight body position, similar to a plank; knees straight, pelvis tucked and core braces, shoulders back and down in a packed position, and elbows pointed down and back in about a 45-degree angle.
- Slowly lower yourself, focusing on the pectoralis muscles, the triceps, and the anterior deltoids.
- Keep your head in line with your body so your neck stays straight.
- Lower yourself until you get past 90 degrees at the shoulder, with your chest just a few inches off the ground.
- Push up using the same muscles, maintaining the straight body position and not allowing hips to sag or knees to bend, and maintain a braced core.
This is an exercise everyone should be doing (with appropriate modifications for select populations) regularly. It engages several upper body muscles and stabilizes the shoulder, while developing and promoting proper movement and mobility through the involved joints.