The Moves You Need To Upgrade Your Push-Ups
If you agree that modified push-ups are outdated and it’s time to get rid of them, then take our challenge: this specialised two-step programme will help you build the strength and confidence to bang out perfect reps of the real deal. Who’s with us?
Alternate between the two moves, doing them a total of three times each week. (So week one you’ll do 1, then 2, then 1; week two you’ll do 2, then 1, then 2; and so on.) Add this to the start of your scheduled workout. Putting it first helps make it a priority – plus, it helps ensure strong, quality reps.
STEP 1: Elevated Push-Up
If you’re not strong enough to do a full push-up yet, placing your hands on a bench, step or elevated bar reduces the body weight you have to lift. The higher your hands are from the floor, the easier the exercise.
Start in a standard push-up position, hands under your shoulders, chin tucked and eyes looking down. Your body should form a straight line from head to heels. Bracing your core and squeezing your glutes, slowly lower your body to the bench or bar, keeping your back straight and elbows at a 45-degree angle from your torso. Explode back up to the starting position. That’s one rep.
STEP 2: Band-assisted Push-Up
REPS: 5 TO 8 • SETS: 3 TO 4
The band “supports” you at your weakest spot (in this case, the bottom of the move) so your form stays solid through the entire range of motion. The support lessens as you return to start, so you use more of your own strength.
Attach a resistance band to both ends of a squat rack and get in a push-up position with the band across your hips. The higher the band on the rack, the more support you’ll get. Bend your elbows to lower yourself, keeping your elbows at a 45-degree angle from your body, until your chest touches the floor. Explode back up to start. That’s one rep.
Don’t have access to a gym or squat rack? Swap the band-assisted push-up for the same number of sets and reps of this move instead.
People are generally stronger in the lowering portion (or eccentric phase) of any exercise. By lowering your body as slowly and with as much control as possible, you generally force your muscles to work much harder, which will translate to better overall strength.
Start in push-up position. Lower yourself as slowly as possible, keeping your body in a straight line, until your chest touches the floor. Return to start without letting your lower back hyperextend. That’s one rep.