Last updated on March 26th, 2013 at 08:53 am
Why in the world would you be interested in a perfect pushup? 8 months ago the concept of a pushup, let alone a perfect pushup wasn’t even on my radar. I was comfortable in zone of weight lifting and lots of cardio.
That was before I discovered a bootcamp workout. Pushups, burpees and crunches now ruled my 6 a.m. workout three times a week.
Dreaming of a perfect pushup
When I started, I had the feeling that any second the floor would be smacking me in the face. The trainers would remind us loudly during the workout to “keep your butt down!”
Really? I thought my butt was down?
Over the past several months I’ve been able to improve the part about keeping my butt down. Now I’m curious about all the different types of pushups and how I can make them work harder for me.
A perfect pushup is like most exercises. It’s all about the technique, and ideal form.
Here’s how to get started on your perfect pushup:
1. Get into a plank position on your knees.
- Start here to get used to the feeling of supporting yourself on your arms.
- Get up on your toes if you’ve been weight training for awhile and being on your toes is comfortable.
- Your arms are placed slightly outside your shoulders.
- Feel where it’s comfortable for you on your hands and back. Are you OK on your hands? Personally my wrists are not the strongest, so I occasionally will use my fists, or dumbbells with a flat edge (so you don’t roll away!) to help me out on softer surfaces
2. Feel your body alignment.
- Are you in a straight line from neck to ankles?
- Keep your abs tight by sucking your belly button in toward your back. Can you feel how that automatically lines you up?
- Keeping your stomach tight will also protect your lower back.
3. Lower your chest – not your head – until your chest nearly touches the floor.
- Be aware of your body, looking at the floor, not your feet. Are you staying in alignment?
4. Push against the floor, through the heels of your hands – fists or dumbbells – pushing back up into the plank position.
5. Congratulations… you just did a pushup!
There are many variations to keep you improving on the basic pushup. As women, this is an excellent way to tone your upper chest, shoulders, and arms. It’s perfect in defining your upper arm which makes those sleeveless dresses something to look forward to!
Improving your perfect pushup
Have you been working on your pushup for a while? If you are strong enough to perform 20 perfect pushups on your knees, it’s time to take it to the next level.
Try a few pushups out, this time on your toes. Keep your head out in front of your hands and create a strong straight line while you lower, breath in, and push up, breath out. Remember that if your hips sag down toward the floor at any point, consider that your last one.
Have you convinced yourself that pushups are just for guys? Try one… just one.
Give yourself a test. How many perfect pushups can you do? No matter what that number is, divide it in half and start building strength. Here’s an example – say you can do four perfect pushups,divide that in half for two and perform 5 sets of 2 pushups.
Here’s your workout for your first day of perfect pushups:
- Do 2 perfect push-ups
- Rest for 60 seconds
- Repeat 4 more times
Plan on doing this workout every 4 days, and each time, remove 5 seconds from your rest period. Each workout should be focusing on good form. No pushing hard, hips sagging or butt in the air and calling it good.
Your second pushup workout will look like this:
- Do 2 perfect pushups
- Rest for 55 seconds
- Repeat 4 more times
Keep repeating that pattern, removing 5 seconds off the rest time with every workout and in no time, you will be down to zero rest time and be able to do 10 perfect pushups in a row! Starting out easy keeps you safe and improving.
Just starting out and getting down in a plank was enough work for one day? Don’t blow off pushups entirely! Put your hands on a raised surface like a stair step, workout bench, or sturdy railing. This takes the pressure off your arms and lets you build your strength slowly.
Push your fitness dreams to be bigger
You know we are capable of doing so much more than we give ourselves credit for. That first day of my bootcamp workout I was convinced I was goingto break something attempting any amount of pushups on my knees. Give yourself an opportunity to shine, and comment to let me know how your pushup workout is going!
Go get your fit on – Heather
Disclaimer: Ready to get fit? My goal is to share my experience with weight loss and fitness. I am not a professional trainer, nutritionist, or dietitian and all opinions are my own. This worked for me, but may not work for you, so please research what is best for your health and fitness goals.
Heather Montgomery is a fitness writer, triathlete, and serial entrepreneur who is devoted to sharing what she has learned about becoming a triathlete after age 40. She uses her Metabolic Training Certification to help other women struggling to get fit in mid-life. She lives and trains in Santa Rosa, California, the new home of the Ironman triathlon. You can find her biking the Sonoma County wine trails.
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