Whether you are the push up king or struggle to get through a single rep, you will see huge benefits from this three-week push-up challenge.
Perfectly performed push-ups are one of the most powerful exercises you can do. They don't just target the chest they strengthen the triceps, deltoids, lats and much more.
In addition to helping you build muscle mass, push-ups can help you build a sustainable approach to fitness by setting goals. After all, you can do push-ups anytime and anywhere! And if the standard press up becomes to easy we have plenty of ways to make it more challenging.
Over the next 3 weeks you are going to become well accustomed to the press up. So buckle up and get ready.
Before we start we do need to make sure we have the correct form as doing these wrong can result in injury.
Here's what's wrong with a lot of people's push ups:
Hands are too wide
Lower back sags
Elbows flare out
Zero lat engagement
Neck and shoulders take over
Abs completely shut off and not functioning
If this is you then do not panic we can quickly go over the basics and work to attain the perfect push-up. You may need to retrain your brain to properly hold the plank position. Remember, sloppy form, especially when you're doing floor push-ups, can lead to injury.
To make sure you're using the right form, we have put together a few points for you to use to make sure you master the basics of the push up.
1) Make sure your head is neutral and in line with the spine.
2) Shoulders should be retracted, depressed and medially rotated towards the spine.
3) Hip Flexors and Core will be activated to keep the hip joint in line with the spine.
4) No Hip or knee sag. Hip Flexors should contract aggressively.
5) Feet will remain perpendicular to the floor as a result of staying tall on the toes, allowing optimal rotational movement of the body to occur.
I'm Already A Push-Up Master. What about me?
Congratulations on being the push up King or Queen. If traditional push-ups are too easy for you, you can make them harder in many ways! For instance:
Feet on an elevated surface
Hands on a suspension trainer
Hands on a ball or kettlebells of various heights or widths
Single-arm push-ups or progressions
The 3 week Perfect Push-Up Challenge
Find the position or surface that allows you to perform a perfect push up for your level. Break up the reps into as many sets as you need to maintain perfect—and I mean perfect—alignment and form. I recommend using relatively low reps in this challenge, so that you can move toward your push-up goals safely.
Remember, if your lower back sags and your neck and traps are doing the work, then it isn't considered a proper push-up. If you use this kind of form, you're teaching yourself a pattern that will hurt you more than help you down the road. These kinds of reps do not count!
As you begin to feel stronger and can complete your push-ups perfectly, try lowering your surface, or find a more challenging push-up progression that forces you to practice several perfect reps at a time.
Week 1: "Easy" Push-Up Progression Week
Day 1: 4/3/3/2=12
Day 2: 5/4/3/2=14
Day 3: 5/5/4/2=16
Day 4: Rest
Day 5: 6/5/5/3=19
Day 6: 7/6/5/3=21
Day 7: Rest
Week 2: Intermediate Push-Up Progression Week
Day 8: 4/4/4/4=16
Day 9: 5/5/5/5=20
Day 10: 5/5/5/5=20
Day 11: Rest
Day 12: 5/5/5/5=25
Day 13: 6/6/6/6/6=30
Day 14: Rest
Week 3: Challenging Progression Push-Up Week
Day 15: 5/5/5/5/5=25
Day 16: 7/7/7/7=28
Day 17: 6/6/6/6/6=30
Day 18: Rest
Day 19: 5/5/5/5/5/5/5/5=40
Day 20: Rest
Day 21: Test your push-up rep goal against what you started with, or see if you can hit your progression goal. For example: 50 push-ups in a row, or 1-2 single-arm push-ups per side.
This approach will allow you to develop your push up ability whilst making sure you have perfect form. Let me know how you get on or if you have any questions!