Marnie, owner of Mod Fitness, says that if you could only do two exercises for the rest of your life, they should be plank holds and push-ups — two moves that work your entire body, and that make an appearance in every single Mod class. Of course, when it comes to push-ups, most of us have probably cheated our way through more sets than we’ve ever done properly, which not only keeps us from getting the strengthening benefits, but also ensures we’ll never learn how to do a push-up correctly. Today, we’ve called on our favorite fit girls to finally break down the elusive exercise and share their tips for mastering the push-up, once and for all.
Start small and work your way up.
Find a countertop or fireplace mantle that you can firmly grip. Hold onto your support with your hands slightly wider than your shoulders. Walk your feet behind your hips, or as far as you feel comfortable – the further back your feet are, the harder it will be! Pull your core in and your shoulder blades down your back – it’s important to maintain both of these once you start moving. As you inhale, start to bend your elbows moving them diagonally behind you as you lower your chest towards your hands. Keep your chin off of your chest with your gaze forward. Once you get to your lowest point with your abdominals still pulled in and your shoulder blades down, exhale and push back up to your starting position. Repeat this 15 times; next time, walk your feet further back behind you to increase the challenge.
Once you’ve mastered the standing push-up, head down to the floor.
Here you’ll be working against gravity more, increasing the intensity of this move. Come to a plank position but with knees bent and heels pulled in tight to your seat. Hands are slightly wider than your shoulders. The same principles apply in this position – pull your core in and your shoulder blades down your back and maintain this position once you start to move. Inhale and bend your elbows moving them diagonally behind you as you lower your chest towards your hands. You will be tempted to lower your forehead to the floor, but try to keep your chin off of your chest. Once you get to your lowest point with your abdominals still pulled in and your shoulder blades down, exhale and push back up to your starting position. Repeat this 15 times.
You’re ready for a full push-up!
We like to start from the ground and work our way up to master the perfect push-up. Lay down with hands next to your chest and wider than your shoulders, legs extended long and toes curled under. Your elbows are pointing diagonally behind you. Pull in your core as tight as you possibly can as you inhale. As you exhale, push the ground away lifting your abdominals off of the floor first, then your chest. Push all the way to the top, then lower back down as low as you can while keeping your chin off of your chest and your shoulders down.