Women: Pushup Progression II

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Women: Pushup Progression II

Author: Coach Krista

Advanced beginner.

You have mastered the descent of the push up shown in the previous blog post.  Getting to the floor from a full on the toes position slowly and with lots of control has become something you can do 8-10 of with ease.  You’re still noticing you cannot push yourself up off the ground without collapsing through your mid section, what do you do next?!  

I call this next step the advanced beginner step.  This is the step people miss and it’s what makes them feel like they are not getting any better at push ups!  If you are beyond the advanced beginner stages of a push up, keep reading and try these steps on your toes right away.  You might find some of the info helpful if you have hit a plateau can’t figure out why you cannot progress. Sometimes back tacking can help you move forward!

1. On the knees ¼ push up hold, flat back hips and shoulders in line. (picture 1) (picture 1a) (picture 1b)

You will set yourself up as I described in the first beginner blog, our starting position on the knees.  Bend at your elbows, your head will stay in front of your wrists and elbows need to point back towards your heels, not out to the side.  We call that the chicken wing. The chicken wing is putting your head between your wrists and elbows flared out to the side. (check out picture 1a)  No chicken wings today! A common error in doing this the first time, is dropping your hips down, instead of bending at the elbow. (check out picture 1b)  Keep your body and hips in line or above your elbows, your body will be parallel to the ground. You may find you can only bend your elbows a little bit and that is fine.  Once your feel all your muscles in your arms engage and begin to shake that is where you should stop. Try and hold for as long as you can, rest and repeat 3-4 times. The time of holding can decrease as you go and that is normal and fine as well.  This is something that can take less than 5 min, but the strength you’ll build is incredible!

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2. On the knees ¼ push up with push back, hips and shoulders in line.

Same set up and steps to get into the hold position as described above, but now you will do reps.  I like to use objects to help in knowing when to push back. If you have access to a large bouncy ball, the kids kind they sell at stores for $1.00, I literally got mine at Market Basket, or it can be anything that when placed under your body, it’s slightly above your elbows.  Put the ball or object under your chest (picture 2). Bend the elbows and maintain form and push yourself back once you slightly feel the object below you. (picture 2a) These reps can be done after you tired out your arms from the holds. Try to do up to 3 sets of 5-10 reps depending on how you feel.

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3. On the knees ½ push up hold, hips and shoulders in line. (picture 3)

Using the steps described above, you will repeat them now with a lower depth.  Try to find the halfway point between the top of your starting position and the ground.  As always, form is everything on these steps, only go to a depth in which you can keep your hips in line with your shoulders, body parallel to the ground, and head in front of your wrists!  No chicken wings!

4. On the knees ½ push up with push back, hips and shoulders in line.

To do the reps your this, you want to find an object that will allow you to bend your elbows into 90 degree angles, I like to use a soft ball.  Following the form and steps above, lower yourself down until your chest gently touches the soft ball and try to push back. Core flexion becomes key at the lower depths, so stay tight and squeeze your core.  If the soft ball is too low, you can stack small lifting plates under it to find the height that works for you. (check out picture 4 and 4a)

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5. On the knees ¾ push up hold, hips and shoulders in line, hips and thighs off the ground. (picture 5)

Here is a great challenge!  The steps above have become doable and you are finding the position to be more natural.  Now you want to try and hover your body about 2 inches off the ground! You will shake, you will want to drop your hips, and it’ll burn those arms.  But, you are now on your way to great push ups. Being able to hold this position for :20 is a good indication as to how far your push ups have come!  At this depth, your thighs and hips should still be off the ground, back will be flat, body parallel to the ground and no chicken wings.

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6. On the knees ¾ push up with push back, hips and shoulders in line, hips and thighs off the ground. (picture 6 and 6a)

To do the reps for this position, I like to use a lacrosse ball.  Lacrosse ball should be placed between your wrists. Lower yourself down to the ball, gently touch the ball with your chest, and push back.  Boom you just did a push up!

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7. Once on the knees is mastered, repeat these steps up on your toes. (picture 7)

There may seem like so many steps and so much time needed to get push ups, but I promise you this wouldn’t take much time each day to master.  None of these steps no matter which one you are on, will take you more than 5-10 min. You can do them every day. Give it a try and in four months, with consistent effort, see how far you can go!  You will never know unless you try.

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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.