The Forgotten Push-Up

The push-up is probably the most underestimated exercise in the history of mankind but it is also essential in a core workout. Almost every exercise has been restudied and reinvented but push-ups have been pretty much left alone in the last couple of decades. However, you can ask any expert and they will testify how important the push-up is when it comes to core workout because it:

  • contracts the top back muscle to an average of 75 percent
  • contracts the abdominal muscle to an average of 90 percent

It also:

  • contracts the triceps to a minimum of 73 percent and maximum of 109 percent
  • contracts the pec major to a minimum of 95 percent and maximum of 105 percent

Biggest Mistakes When Doing Push-ups

No other exercise comes close which begs the next important question: why are many not getting the expected result?

The answer is simple, it’s all about the right technique. That is common on all core workout. There are three common mistakes when doing push-ups:

  1. hands are high and wide. It makes the push-up easier because the pec fiber is able to produce strength and does not “force” the triceps to work
  2. sagging hips which is caused by the inadequate strength of the core to stabilize their pelvis. This makes the body lighter
  3. half push-ups or when people don’t go all the way down. The bottom portion is when the body is at its heaviest because you are nearer to the source of gravity and lacks the lock that the elbows provide at the top portion

The Proper Way of Doing a Push-up

There are different kinds of push-ups. However, one thing is common, your hand should be positioned lower for you to maximize your core workout. It should be, at least, aligned with your chest, not your shoulders. This will force your triceps and pecs to work harder because they are going to take in your full weight but it also provides the greatest benefits.

The Different Positions and Target Areas

  • Elevated feet – this achieves the best result in strengthening and sculpting the shoulders
  • Alternating hands on the ball – is the hardest on the abdominal muscles or the 6-pack
  • One arm – utilizes the shoulder muscles the most
  • Clapping – is mean to strengthen the triceps and biceps
  • Straight pelvis – forces the glute and lower ab to contract
  • Hands on a swiss ball – will exercise the chest

Correcting Your Form

Like any other core workout, there are several tricks you can do to improve the quality and quantity of your push-ups:

    1. keep your hands low regardless of the type of push-up you are doing
    2. do only the type that keeps your core steady
    3. lift yourself up and go down slow, as slow as possible
    4. quality over quantity, it is better to do ten reps with the proper form over twenty reps with the improper form
    5. as you become more stable with the types you can do properly, gradually move to the ones you left out in the beginning


This is not to say that you should forget about your other strength training programs but don’t forget the basics either.


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