Hi guys,  Kris from Custom Fitness here, your personal trainer in Amarillo. Today I am going to share a trick with you to really help build your push up potential. Push ups are one of those exercises that many people really have built up in their mind as “something I should be able to do”. Well now you’ll be able to! If you’re trying to build up to doing push ups on your toes or your building up for something else, today’s trick will really help you maintain the proper form while building that muscular endurance up. It will also keep you from getting hurt namely in your back or your core — a common issue if you are doing toe (or full) push ups or an advanced push up on a block or other elevated surface.  If you have any questions about today’s topic or would like to speak more in depth about other tricks our trainers have up their sleeve, give us a call: 806-322-3188.

Let’s first talk form. I have been a personal trainer in Amarillo for almost twenty years. I can spot bad form like an animal searching for its next meal.  Bad form drives me crazy; it’s just not safe.  Not to mention if you keep the bad technique up you can severely hurt yourself to the point you can’t move forward with your goals.  Nobody wants that.

Today we are discussing a common push up. We won’t be going into different variations. For this kind of a pushup to have good form you need to  plant your hands out slightly wider than your shoulders. You can check this when you go into your pushup position by seeing that your wrist and elbow are directly in line with one another.   The elbows can point back slightly, that’s fine. Your hands should not be directly under your shoulders, nor do you want your elbows jutting out towards the side walls with your wrists under your chest (making an angle from wrist to elbow). You will also want to check to ensure that the heel of your hand is at shoulder height meaning that your hands are in line with your shoulders. This will help to take off additional pressure on both the shoulder joint and the spine.

Today, at the Custom Fitness studio,  we are going to be using a looped resistance band that is attached to the wall.  You can do this at home as well by attaching your looped band into a door jam above the top hinge. Make sure you are using a looped band. Please do not use a band that you have to rig up into a circle (i.e. tying in a knot) as it could cause serious injury.

To choose the correct band might take a little trial and error. You will want to use a band or bands that give you just the right amount of assistance in your movement. If the band makes it feel like you’re jumping off a bridge with a bungee cord, it might be a bit too much. If it doesn’t feel any different than your normal push up attempt, it is probably too light. Find one that offers just enough help that you are able to maintain great form throughout your exercise.

I am going to take my looped band and put it over me, resting it on my hip bones. I don’t want it on my abdomen, but rather on my pelvic bowl, right across my hip bones. I am going to go ahead and get into my push up position.  The purpose of the band is that it will assist me on the way up. That means when I am moving through the push up movement from bottom to top, the band will help keep my hips in the correct form and assist my arms with the press (ie. they will not have to lift as much weight by themselves. That does not mean to give up on your form and not tighten your core because the resistance band is doing the work. The band helps to allow you to perform the movement well while challenging your body when you are engaged.  Tighten your core keeping special focus on that lower core (pubic bone/belly button area). When you are using the band for assistance in this way and with the correct band, you will be building your strength and ability to perform a correct push up and eventually will be able to lower the resistance of the band and from there perform push ups without the band. Just make sure you don’t lose the form you’ve worked so hard for!

Okay, so that’s how to use the band to get from a knee push up (modified form) to a toe push up (advanced form).

I know there are some of you out there that push ups are not really a big deal for. Perhaps you have mastered the advanced form and would like a further challenge? Well here’s what I have for you today:

A way to intensify this, If you wanted, is to make a prop for your feet.  I will be using a BOSU today. But you can use any elevated (sturdy and secure) surface in the gym. The BOSU / prop goes right under your feet. What this is going to do is create a decline position which will cause the arms to be lifting even more of your body weight (body angle will determine the percentage of weight on the arms). What normally happens when people start doing push ups in a decline position is they lose the form through their core and back very quickly. To fix that issue, we will again use the looped resistance band. Elevating the feet on the prop, the resistance band around your hip bones, and your arms out wider than your shoulders, bend the elbows down and straighten the elbows. The prop and the band will allow you to really push, your push up by going further into the movement without the worry of losing your core or how you will get back up.  

If you want to start improving your pushup form, today’s tips are a great way to do that.  Please remember to make sure you are using good bands. Before every use, check the them over to ensure there are no rips, tears, cracks, snags, or signs of wear in them. If any part of your band looks like an old rubber band, do not use them. You definitely do not want them breaking mid push up and popping you in the back of the head or worse.  If you’d like more help or tips or tricks, that’s what we are here for. Give us a call today 806-322-3188 or e-mail us at info@customfitness.biz.  We’ll be happy to set you up with a fitness consultation to figure out your goals and make a game plan about how to best get you there; basically to see if we are the right fit for you.  At Custom Fitness, we are YOUR personal trainer in Amarillo, Texas and we look forward to working with you.   See you tomorrow!