It's safe to say the Push-Up is no one's exercise of choice. Push-ups seem to be the go-to form of punishment in sports practices and gym class, but that's certainly not their primary function.
Push-Ups requires upper body strength and core stability, so they offer an extremely effective way to get a great bodyweight workout.
The exercise itself may be simple, but many fail to maintain good technique. Get better results from your workout by learning how to perform the "perfect Push-Up."
The "Perfect" Push-Up Technique
Always keep your body in a straight line from your heels to the top of your head. Keep straight while moving up and down during the push-up, so your back doesn't bend and your belly doesn't drop toward the ground. Also, don't allow your butt to be higher than your shoulders, and keep your head in line with your spine.
Try this trick: look at the ground about a foot in front of your hands so your head naturally positions itself correctly.
Play With Angles
The way to change from poor technique to effective technique is to play with the angles. Start with a bar in a weight rack at hip height (if one isn't available, a bench will do). Place your hands shoulder-width apart on the bar. Keeping a straight body, lower your chest to the bar.
Pushing against the bar reduces the percentage of your body weight you have to press. As you get better and are able to touch your chest to the bar for reps, progress by lowering the bar to knee level, then to shin level, then to the floor.
To make your technique truly perfect, keep your arms close to your body. If you allow them to move away from the body, you will make it harder on yourself.
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock