This week we are going to continue our focus on the fundamentals of movement and work on our plank, progressing to a push up over the course of the week.
A great pushup always starts with a perfect plank. If we aren't effectively braced through our whole body we will put all of the pressure on our neck and shoulders, which causes lots of problems over time, not only in one's inability to perform a great pushup, but also in terms of injury and discomfort.
The primary muscle used in a pushup is the pecs or chest muscles, but our lats are also an important muscle that will help to stabilize us as we lower down into the push up. We are also utilizing our core muscles to stabilize our torso and protect the low back, and our legs and glutes to create tension through the whole body and prevent all of our weight being concentrated to our neck and shoulders.
When setting up a plank we want to make sure that our hands are under our chest and shoulders, our hips are slightly elevated with a tailbone tuck, and our toes / balls of our feet are making strong contact with the floor. By pushing through our feet we will be engaging our quads and glutes and feeling tension through the whole body.
We also want to focus on our breath in both planks and pushups. In a plank we want to maintain steady breath. In a pushup, we inhale as we lower down, and then exhale as we press away from the floor. Think about using your breath to blow yourself up off the floor.
When practicing a great push up remember that how low you go to the floor isn't as important as maintaining (and practicing) proper form. As you practice using your whole body to support a great push up you'll build confidence in getting lower into the movement over time.
Here's your checklist:
1) Hands under shoulders and chest
2) Slight elevation of hips and tailbone tuck
3) Elevate through ribs and engage through the abdominals
4) Feet have strong connection to the floor
5) Use your breath - inhale down / exhale up
6) Have fun!
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Hi! My name is Allison Hopkins and I am the owner of Wilcox Wellness & Fitness in Brunswick, ME. I am excited to bring WILCOX to Brunswick and share in my passion for living a great life through health and fitness.