Doing push ups well doesn’t mean doing a hundred push ups, or even a thousand. The best goal you can strive for when doing push ups is achieving perfect form. This means keeping your torso firm and controlled, keeping your legs taut and still, and keeping your breathing even and regular so that the push up is a graceful, fluid motion.
Completing a few perfect push ups will help you build muscle more efficiently and improve your strength and ability more quickly than hours of doing push ups that are sloppy. Perfecting your technique will also help you protect yourself. Doing push ups the right way almost never leads to injury, whereas doing push ups with imperfect form can be risky for your joints. If you want to pursue doing push ups the right way and the smart way, turn your attention towards quality rather than quantity.
One great way to make sure that you are prepared for doing push ups the right way is by working up to the perfect, classic push up through less strenuous exercises that will let you practice your technique without causing you exhaustion or discomfort. By perfecting your form through mastering a series of modified push ups, you can be sure that once you tackle the intense workout of traditional, military style push ups, you will be doing push ups the right way so that you can reap maximum strength building benefits at minimal injury risk. Doing push ups the right way takes a while to learn, but the patience you show during your training regimen is sure to pay off.
Begin with this push up variation. Get into position on your hands and knees on an exercise mat. Check to make sure that your arms are slightly more than shoulder width apart, and that your palms are flat against the mat and placed forward to allow your arms to extend slightly in front of your shoulders. Your knees should be directly under your hips so that your calves are completely perpendicular to the floor. Tighten your abdomen, keep your spine extended and your neck straight, and then gently bend your elbows, lowering your chest. Slowly continue to bend until your chest is five or six inches from the mat. When you reach this point, pause for a few seconds, then straighten your arms slowly, pushing yourself back to your original position.
Doing push ups like this for a few weeks before you tackle a more strenuous style of push ups will help you lay the groundwork for better push up results down the road.