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Most Common Pushup Mistakes

by Kate Ferguson on May 8, 2016
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Pushups are a pretty standard go to when it comes to working out the body using its own resistance, but it’s actually pretty common to be making some errors when doing so. Here are some of the most common mistakes.

Not Engaging the Core

If you fail to properly engage your core during a workout you can usually tell since your butt will pop up instead of the body staying in a line. To correct this, lift your lower back up at the same time that you slightly curl your pelvis forward towards your upper body. Without staying in a line you put unnecessary stress on the back, and you’re wasting the time that could be spent toning the core.

Putting the Hands in the Wrong Place

Improper hand placement is one of the more common pushup mistakes. If you put the hands too far forward it places a strain on the shoulder joints and makes it hard to properly engage the rest of the body. Your arms should not be tilted forward or back, but should be straight up and down like pillars under the shoulders so that the weight is evenly distributed.

Bad Placement of the Head

It can be tempting to clench the head in towards the neck out of strain, but the proper head placement is to keep the chin extended as if there were a grapefruit between the chin and neck. This helps to keep the spine in a straight line as well as cut down on some of the strain.

Not Engaging the Legs

The pushup might only have movement in the upper body, but the legs should still be engaged throughout the whole process. Think slightly flexing the quads, pushing the knees toward the ceiling, and and pressing the heels toward the floor.

Holding the Breath

Proper breathing is important for any workout, and it is a pretty easy aspect to forget. Many people are in the habit of holding the breath when the going gets tough, but always try to remember to breath through the pain and effort instead. It can take some reminders and practice to get into the habit of allowing the breath to flow freely which will ultimately make the workout better. You need to keep breathing to allow the oxygen to flow into the body.

Only Doing it Part Way

Another common problem with the pushup form is that people don’t go down far enough or come all the way back up, and end up doing a sort of half pushup. To get the most out of each rep be sure and go down far enough so that the arms are at a 90 degree angle and the tricep gets engaged when it is parallel to the floor. Then come all the way back up into the full plank position before returning to the floor. Do not let the belly dip out when you do go down, or it will be the gravity taking you, as opposed to the muscles in your arms doing it.

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2 Comments
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  • Matt
    May 8, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    Pushups are so common that they almost seem underrated at this point. they are such a powerful full body thing

  • Mark
    May 8, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    I am guilty of occasionally letting the belly drop that’s tough

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