Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Perfecting the Pushup

During my freshman year of high school, my dad signed me up for personal training sessions with Brad, one of the best personal trainers in the South Bend area.  During our four years together,  I would get stomach aches before our workouts just thinking about what he would have up his sleeve. I am still convinced his goal was to literally kill me.  Well, 9 years later, I am still alive and fortunate to call Brad one of my best friends.  I have enjoyed watching his girls grow up, becoming friends with his lovely wife, and being a part of their lives despite living 2 hours away.

Brad would always challenge my body’s physical and mental strength with super sets. Super sets are when you perform exercises back to back with little to no break (more to come in another post). One super set that I dreaded were push-ups after a heavy set of bench press. Both of these exercises work the similar muscle groups in your chest, arms, and shoulders, so after challenging myself with bench press my arms would be almost too fatigued to do “normal” pushups (what many of you may refer to as “boy pushups”).

Instead of resulting to “girl pushups” when fatigued, Brad taught me one of the most valuable pushup lessons to still challenge the body, but lessen the load a little. These modified pushups are more effective than pushups from your knees because you are resisting your body weight on the way down, which helps build muscle and strength faster.

If you have problems with regular pushups, I highly suggest trying these modified pushups out to take your strength to the next level. If you can do “regular pushups,” do what I do. I do pushups until I’ve reached my max, then finish with 10 of these to really increase the burn and to further strengthen both my body and mind.

A few tips before getting started: keep your abs pulled in and tight, keep your butt level, breathe, and embrace the burn… burn = body transformation.  

1. Start in a plank position with your hands shoulder width apart, abs pulled in tight, and hips up and level. Your hips should be in a nice straight line with the rest of your back.

2. Lower down to the ground keeping your hips up and back level. One major mistake made at this point is people tend to either arch their back or lower their hips to the ground. To avoid this, keep your abs tight and contract your gluteus muscles (butt muscles) together. Also keep your head and neck level. Your body should be going down in one line, not in separate segments.

3. When you are 2-4 inches from the ground, slowly drop your knees while maintaining form. You can barely even tell that I’ve dropped to my knees in the picture because I’ve maintained form.

4. From there, push up like you would doing a “girl pushup,” but remember to keep form.

5. Return to a plank position with your hands shoulder width apart, and repeat for 10 reps. Take a 60-90 second break then repeat for 2 more sets. 

Note: Form is key!! By letting your hips drop, back arch, etc you are susceptible to injuries and causing muscular imbalances. If you are doing this form right, your abs should feel fatigued and possibly sore as well. 


  1. Thanks for the info!!!! Loving ur blog!!!!

  2. Thanks! I am so happy that you enjoy the blog, and that i am able to help! Keep looking back for more recipes and fitness tips!