Do not stop when you are tired, stop only when you are done. Never give up on pushups just because you couldn't push yourself harder or couldn't lift your own body weight. If you find a workout to be beneficial to your fitness goals, before excelling, it's crucial to know what you might be doing wrong. Following are 3 common mistakes people make while trying pushups, fix them right now and experience the results.
You might have watched several youtube videos with 100 pushups under 5 minutes or something similar. Though one can perform push ups fast enough for a competition or a challenge, it is never advisable to perform your pushups too fast in your regular workouts. It increases the force exerted on your elbow joints, making it more painful and making you unlikely to perform it the next day. Thus, the ideal time taken to perform a pushup is subjective depending on your style, ranging from 3 seconds to 5 seconds.
T-Shape is the pushup sin:
Now that you have found the ideal speed of a pushup, here is another common mistake made concerning the hand placement during a pushup. Most beginners place their palms wide apart and forward like the dog pose in yoga thinking that it can engage their chest muscles more, enabling them to build a wider chest. Your goal goes unsatisfied by exerting too much pressure on the shoulders, making you hunch, and ultimately not being able to perform a perfect pushup. Also, when you place your palms wide, your body looks like T-shape while performing the pushup making your elbows flare, or coming outside the body, which is not the right way. Ensure that each palm is directly under the shoulders, slightly wider than your chest. This position will provide you sturdy support, exerting equal pressure on your core, chest, and ultimately engaging the right muscles.
Neither lift your hips towards the ceiling nor sag your lower body. Both the positions can be dangerous to perform a pushup as it is not just a poor position but can result in hip injury at times. If you lift your hips, you would probably look like an upside-down V not engaging your core muscles. Even when you perform a pushup with that position, you don't use your glutes and rather cheat yourself in the process. The perfect position is to keep your whole body straight to the ground while performing the pushup. Keep your palm at shoulder width, do not hunch your shoulders, ensure that the spinal cord is straight, and your lower body straight with the ground. Squeeze your glute muscles to lower your butt and to get the expected effect.
In simple words, take the plank position to perform your pushups in the right form. If you feel it is too hard to find the right position, get help from experts either online or get a fitness trainer to help you. When you start mastering the art of pushups, you are on the right track!
(Vijay Thakkar, Fitness Entrepreneur and Functional Medicine Coach)
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