The pushup is a classic exercise that you learned in middle school. But for that same reason, you’ve probably picked up some bad habits throughout the years. If you want to increase your gains, you’ve got to keep perfecting your technique. Here’s how to clean up your pushups, and crank out more reps today.
The Mistake: You only concentrate on the push.
The move is called the pushup, but that doesn’t mean you can ignore the descent. “Don’t let gravity do the work for you,” says Nepodal. “The eccentric, or lowering, portion of the move builds strength, too.”
The Fix: At the top of the pushup, pretend to dig your hands into the floor by grabbing it with all of your fingers. This turns on your lats, which you’ll use to pull your chest toward the floor. Your lats are the biggest muscles in your back, so activating them not only helps with lowering, but also helps when it’s time to power up to top, says Nepodal.
The Mistake: Your hands are too far apart.
Placing your hands wide is a sneaky way to do less work. The reason: It shortens the distance from your body to the floor, says Nepodal. It also puts a greater emphasis on your chest, increasing the stress to your shoulders.
The Fix: Place your palms directly beneath your shoulders. This enables you to keep your elbows tucked close to your sides, working both your chest and triceps, says Nepodal. It makes the pushup harder, but it’ll make you stronger in the long run and save your shoulders, he says.
The Mistake: You don’t shake it out.
Muscle tightness occurs when you create high amounts of tension with load or volume. And while tension leads to strength and size gains, it can also lead to imbalances and pain if you don’t release it after the exercise. “You’ve seen the guy who does a ton of bench presses, and then walks around with his shoulders pulled forward,” says Nepodal. “The same thing can happen when you concentrate on both the lowering and lifting of a pushup because you’re keeping your pecs and arms under tension longer.”
The Fix: Perform a bridge stretch on a Swiss ball between sets. It’ll stretch out your core, chest, shoulders, and even your lats, he says. Here’s how to do it: Place your head and upper back on the ball, and reach your arms out perpendicular to your body. Let your hips sink toward the floor. Hold this position for 10 breaths.
The Mistake: Your neck wobbles.
Nepodal calls this the chicken neck. “It happens when your chest and arms are tired, and your neck juts out toward the floor.” Not only does it look silly, but it throws your spine out of alignment and increases your chance of injury. A complete pushup is when your chest, not your nose, touches the floor, he says.
The Fix: Your body should form a straight line from your head to your ankles. If a broomstick were placed on your back, it should make contact with your head, upper back, and butt. Keep your body in that alignment the entire time.
"gentle reminder that cleopatra’s beauty is rumored to have started wars in ancient history" — a post going around Tumblr
Actually Cleopatra was said to have not actually been that beautiful — men said that until she opened her mouth, she was simply average. What made her beautiful according to Plutarch was her personality and intelligence. Her sparkling wit, charming personality, talent with over half a dozen languages, and in-depth knowledge of almost everything was just so impressive that she often became beautiful in their eyes.
So while that post is nice in that it’s trying to say that women are becoming more beautiful and that if you lived in 30 B.C., you could have started wars, I like this version much better.
You may not be traditionally beautiful, but goddamn neither was Cleopatra and she seduced two of the most powerful men in the world.
It always bothers me when I see people try to back up their body policing with health concerns. Other peoples' health is none of your business. When you see people outside do you harass them about wearing sunblock? No, it's none of your business. When you see couples holding hands in public do you harass them about safe sex? No, it's none of your business. The size and weight you perceive others to be isn't anyone's business. Other peoples' health isn't anyone else's business.
Asketh - Anonymous
Also, can I just say that most of this “health policing” is just repackaged fat shaming?
I talk about never exercising and eating unhealthy food in excess and drinking and overworking myself ALL THE TIME, and you know how many people have approached me about with “concern about my health”?
Could that maybe be because I’m thin? (Answer: YES.)
People don’t care about my “health” because they don’t actually care about health at all. They care about fat.
They pretend that they care about health, but it’s funny how they only care about health when they’re talking to people of size.