How to make push ups easy
Table of Contents
- 1 How to make push ups easy
- 1.1 How to do good push ups
- 1.2 Lessening the push up difficulty
- 1.3 Conclusion
- 1.4 FAQs
A push up is a great body weight exercise for the upper body and abdominals. However, a person starting the fitness journey or someone who has not been working out for a while might not be able to do even a single rep. Sadly.
If you’re experiencing this challenge read on for tips on how to make push ups easy. But first, let’s get the right form for this exercise so as to avoid injury and get the most out of our workout.
How to do good push ups
There are many push up variations. Most of these variations aim at increasing complexity for better results. Here, we look at the basic form of the traditional push up.
There are two key points you need to keep in mind as you learn how to do good push ups, as discussed below.
Distance between hands and feet
A traditional push up, pressure-up for our British friends, is an exercise done on the floor or a flat surface. You support yourself on four points, your palms and the balls of your feet.
Positioning of the hands is the most important here. So, you should place your palms on the floor, directly below your shoulders. Not in front, not behind. This is best noted if you lie flat on the floor, on your stomach of course.
Your fingers should point to the front and the palms should be at a width slightly greater than your shoulder width.
For the feet, the width between them is not critical. Just make sure you are comfortable. This could be with the feet touching each other, two inches apart, a foot or even a greater distance apart.
With your palms and feet positioned as discussed above, now you just need to ensure your body from the feet to your head maintains a single straight line. At least try to maintain the straight line.
In order to maintain this form, squeeze your abdominals and your glutes during the exercise.
Avoid raising your butt to the ceiling to form an inverted letter ‘V ‘or raising your upper body alone forming a kind of letter ‘L’.
Doing a single push up rep
A push up rep has two movements, up and down (could be down and up as well). Let’s work with the first option, by considering that you first lie on the floor.
So once you anchor yourself, push yourself upwards until your hands are straight. Then lower yourself back to the ground. Try to resist the downward movement to avoid a free fall movement. This is one rep. In images, this would be the positions in the images below, left to right and then right to bottom.
But I can’t do a single rep or even raise myself off the ground! I hear you.
So let’s look at a work-around this difficulty. In the meantime, here’s a video demonstrating how to do a traditional push up.
Lessening the push up difficulty
The reason why you are not able to do a single push up or you can only do a small number of them is due to low upper body and hand strength. Since we can’t reduce your body weight, we’ll have to find ways of anchoring ourselves such that your hands carry lesser weight.
As you do these modified exercise versions, your hand muscles will build strength and sooner than later you will be able to do the traditional push ups with ease. Here are two tips to help improve your hands and upper body strength.
Tip 1 – Wall Push Up
Stand upright next to a vertical wall. You should be about your hand’s length distance away from the wall.
Place your palms on the wall, at the same height level with your shoulders. Width between your palms should be slightly more than your shoulder width.
With this anchoring, you should be able to do some reps. So you just let your upper body approach the wall and then you push back to the starting position. Remember the straight line requirement still applies here. That is one rep.
Try ten repetitions or the much you can. That is one set. Try three sets with about one minute rest between the sets.
As working out at this position gets too easy increase the difficulty by moving your feet slightly away from the wall.
Similarly, you can use a fitness box or something similar, instead of a wall, to anchor your hands as shown in the image to the right. This means you will not be standing upright at the starting position.
Also, you will have to lower the vertical position that you place your palms.
Tip 2 – Kneeling push up
Now, remember the traditional push up position? Nice.
Place your hands as discussed earlier. But, in this case the other two anchor points will be your knees rather than the balls of your feet. You might require a mat or some pads so as not to hurt your knees. Here is a video demonstrating the kneeling push up.
If this position still proves a little difficult for you, worry not.
Instead of having your hands on the floor, get a chair or a table. This will be the platform to anchor your hands. So ensure it will not move away as you work out. You could try and place it next to a wall.
So, with your palms on the chair (you could also hold the chair or edge of a table or something else at a similar height) and knees on the floor, lower your chest to the chair and then lift yourself back up.
Once again, try ten repetitions or the much you can. That is one set. Try three sets with about one minute rest between the sets.
So, there you go. If strength was a challenge, now you know to make push ups easy. But reading this piece is barely enough.
You need to practice, practice and practice some more. Try and work out at least three times a week, on alternating days. This will give you a day for recovery.
When working out, reduce rest between sets. Then add reps per set over time. By doing this, you will be looking for ways to increase difficulty level for push ups in no time. Good luck and remember if it hurts, then you’re doing it right.
Are push ups good for weight loss?
The short answer is no, push ups are not enough exercises for weight loss. However, they could help you increase strength and hence be able to do other exercises such as weight lifting with ease.
So why are push ups insufficient for weight loss? The reason is research shows that someone needs approximately 200 minutes of medium intensity cardio activity per week in order to shed some weight. An example of a medium intensity cardio activity is walking at a normal pace. This leads to burning more calories than the intake, leading to loss of weight.
200 minutes of push up in a week is almost impossible.
Are push ups good for abs?
Yes, push ups work and help in sculpting abs.
But, remember main muscles worked during push ups are around the chest. Abdominal muscles and obliques get worked since they stabilize you during a push up, which is also referred to as an upgrade of the plank exercise.
Word of caution: Do not overdo this exercise just because you want your abs to be visible. Always allow for some rest on some days during the week.
Are push ups good for building muscle?
Yes push ups are great body weight exercises for growing some muscle mainly chest, triceps and shoulders.
For a muscle to grow it has to be put under some stress. One way of knowing your muscle is under stress is feeling some pain or actually working out till you can no longer do it. As you keep doing push ups for muscle growth remember to increase the reps and complexity over time.