Women: Pushup Progression

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Women: Pushup Progression

Author: Coach Krista


Ladies!  You can do push ups, let me show you how!

Ladies you are not weak!  You are way more strong and capable than you even know and my mission is to show you what you can do!  I’ve been hearing a lot of women say how they “can’t do push ups” and I want to show you why that is not true!  You CAN do push ups! You just haven’t been showed how to properly get there. Push ups take a lot more than just arm strength.  It’s arms, core, coordination and stability properly execute a full push up! When you find a push up impossible, it means you are lacking in a certain area, maybe one more than the other, which makes this seemingly basic movement, impossible.  Don’t beat yourself up over it! Also, don’t think you will never be able to do one, because with some focused efforts on form and technique, you will begin to see and feel improvements in your pushing strength across the board by just fixing your push up.

Here is the beginning steps to better push ups.  If you are beyond basic push up form and strength, don’t stop reading!  You might be able to still tweak your pushing form from these basic set up and technique rules I’ll lay down in a moment.

Basic setup:  Start by laying face down flat on the ground.  Palms of your hands will be flat on the ground elbows pointing to the ceiling just to the side of your shoulders.  Make sure your forearm is vertical, making a straight line from your wrist to your elbow. Thumbs will be in line with your chest.  You want your hands to be just outside your shoulders, not tucked under your body, your thumbs should be close to your body, not touching. (Picture 1: Laying down start position)

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Getting Up: From your lying position with your knees left on the ground, push yourself up off the ground onto your hands and knees.  To set up for your decent back down, leave your body weight leaning slightly forward so your shoulders stay in line with your wrists, knees stay on the floor.  Hips should be just below your shoulder, but not lower than your elbows (check photos and videos for reference to what I mean). This is the start of your push up. (Picture 2: Onto all fours) (Picture 3: leaning forward, hips in the right spot) (Picture 4: Hips too low while leaning forward)

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The Descent: Doing this movement as slow as you can, you want to bend at your elbows, allowing your body to lower down to the floor, trying to touch your chest and thighs to the floor at the same time, chest resetting back right between your thumbs and your body will be laying flat on the ground.  If your thighs touch before your chest don’t worry, it may make take a few tries to figure out the balance on the movement, lowering your body in one piece. The slower you go down the better and more challenging the movement will be. If your struggling with getting to the ground without your thighs touching first, this is your first goal!  I have one modification to help you reach that goal first. (Picture 5: The start of the descent) (Picture 6: Back to the bottom)

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One Modification:  If you feel as though you cannot get to the floor without your thighs touching first, grab a pillow, towel, or mat from the gym.  Place the soft object under your belly button and chest. Try and get to that object with your chest and stomach touching at the same time as your thighs.  This will take practice, but once that becomes easy, then you can go to the floor! (Picture 7: ab mat modification set up) (Picture 8: Ab mat push up)

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Pushing Up:  Pushing back up doesn’t matter!!!!  All you have to do is get yourself back up to the top any way you can to repeat the slow descent down.  This is KEY to your pushing success, the slower you can lower yourself down the better.

The Next Step: Once you have mastered the descent on both knees, you can try using only one knee, or doing the same movement up on your toes.  Still not worrying about getting yourself back up off the ground yet. We will get there. (Picture 9: One knee set up) (Picture 10: Toes set up)

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This isn’t something you will master your first time at it, it takes 4-6 weeks of constant practice at this beginning phase to perfect this form.  Don’t be discouraged when one day this feel easier than others, your body will react to many factors including sleep, hydration, other workouts you may have done that day/week, recovery from your last session.  If you follow along with mop talk, JP had mention trying to do 50 pushups a day. If you took this basic form and got 50 reps in over the course of your morning or whole day (shooting for sets of 5 or 10 at a time) only three times a week you will we a huge improvement!

Give this a try and let me know what you think!  Stay tuned for the next phase of how to get perfect push ups!


Interested in chatting with us? Feel free to message us coach@lifeinmotion-fitness.com. Are you ready to commit to good health, nutrition, and an enhanced lifestyle? Come in for your first complimentary visit or to chat about our group classes and personal training. Reach out to Krista or JP at (978) 766-0485.