Push ups, form and questions

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  • Push ups, form and questions

    Hey Darebee, I have a real problem with push ups. It's annoying, because I can do all my workouts on level III generally, but I can't do a full push up! I can do a knee push up, but I want to make sure my form is good, and ask some questions based on stuff I've read recently.

    1. There seems to be a debate about how your elbows go when you do a push up. I realized that my elbows seem to go out straight from my body when I do a push up. I read some articles saying that was bad, and meant my hands were in the wrong place. Thoughts?

    2. This is a anatomy question, I guess. What muscles are you using when you are lowering yourself down? This is the part of the push up that I can simply not do when I am in the full push up position. I lower my body to a certain point, and my elbows just will simply not bend any farther. Would it be useful to target those specific muscles with weights?

    3. I read somewhere about a way to improve the problem I mentioned in the last question. You lower yourself as low as you can, hold in a push up plank for a few seconds, and then try to go down again. Anyone tried this?

    I'm really hoping I can graduate to big kid push ups soon. It's frustrating, because I think it is just really hard for me to build muscle in my upper body. I never remember being able to do a push up properly, (let alone a pull up,) even when I was working out every day in high school on the rowing team. Also, about 4 years ago I had a rotator cuff injury, so basically just stopped anything I was doing in my upper body.

    I'd love suggestions about my push up problems!

  • #2
    Hey madeline ,

    You should take a look at

    But in summary:

    1. Yeah your arms shouldn't be too wide apart.

    2. It depends and what push ups you are doing exactly, but it's mostly pecs and triceps.

    3. Holding a position can help you build strength to be able to do a complete push ups. So yeah it's a good way to improve.


    • #3
      Madeleine ... I wouldn't worry about it, much. Most people are aware of the 'decline' options for pushups. Like your 'knee' pushup.
      Then there are the various 'hand position' versions, for the aficionados. 'In', 'wide', 'high', 'diamond' ... to name but a few.
      Get your nose, or chin, or chest, to the ground then push back up. Do the hardest variety you can manage. You'll be fine.


      • #4
        Thanks for the advice DaithiMeyer and Ryuji! Maybe adding tricep dips to my training would help. I feel like a lot of my problem is pure impatience, I want to do that full pushup ASAP!


        • #5
          Don't worry, it takes time to build that initial strength for push ups, and even more for pull ups. So don't rush it, you'll get there


          • #6
            Try doing PU with elevated hands- as high as you need them for good form. In my opinion that´s better than the ones on the knees. Behause the knee version takes away most of the work for stability/core.


            • #7
              Great idea Ulli. I know that elevating my hands all the way to a couch or a bed feels too easy, maybe it's time to invest in some yoga blocks to help.


              • #8
                Make sure the surface is not too soft.
                And you can use anything. Books, blogs, stairs, nature also has some training aids like logs or rocks. A partner is also useful


                • #9
                  I am unable to do pushups and can't do the knee variation because of pain...there are some workouts that I plan to work up to that have pushups.. What about us using the wall in a standing position?


                  • #10
                    SuccessfulStrides yes, you can do that. http://darebee.com/modifications.html


                    • #11
                      Yes- Hands on the wall is the first step. From there you keep going down with your hand. Wall- table top/kitchen counter- chair/sofa/couch table- book/brick-floor- and from there elevation of your feet or one-arm PUs.


                      • #12
                        Thanks both of you! I know its silly but I was stressing over the pushups in quite a few of the exercises I m wanting to do further done the road...and now I don't have too