Generally when I encounter a female and ask her to perform a push up, the first word out of her mouth is “Uggggghhhh.” (Possibly more profane than that, but you get the point). Many females think they are hard, hate doing them, or don’t have the upper body strength to complete it. So, what do they do? They drop to their knees and perform the “modified” push up.
But is doing a push up from your knees really helping you to achieve a full push up? Answer: NO.
Let us take a look at what is happening in a full push up.
- A push up is essentially a plank with a bend of the elbows
- Your head, shoulders, hips, and feet should be in a straight line
- Middle fingers are facing forward
- Shoulders are over wrists
- Shoulders pinched, abs held tight, and butt squeezed
- As you bend your elbows, they should be at about a 45-degree angle, NOT 90-degrees.
And now from the knees…
- With your knees on the floor, it becomes harder/less effective to squeeze the butt
- Without squeezing your butt, it makes the lower back more likely to sag
- If your back is sagging, your abs are not engaged
- As you bend your elbows, since you are not parallel to the floor anymore, it creates an inappropriate angle of the elbows and chest. Not only is this position most difficult to achieve, but it also puts unnecessary stress on the wrists, elbows, and shoulders which could lead to injuries
How do we fix this?
Answer: Get OFF your knees.
In order to become proficient at doing push ups, you have to maintain the same alignment. Performing push ups off an incline surface will allow you to maintain the proper alignment and muscle activation. As the incline becomes easier, continue to work at a lower incline until you are able to perform them on the floor.
Next time you are asked to perform a push up, find an inclined surface that is sturdy. Get off your knees and master those push ups. Simple as that.