Does your push-up need perfecting? While the push-up is a fairly basic move, most people have failed to master it.  Drooping hips, sagging shoulders, a sky-high backside; you name it, I've seen it.  Not only is a botched push-up painful to watch, it is equally as unpleasant on your muscles and joints. Fix your form, strengthen your body and freshen up your stale routine with the following push-up training tools.

Back to Basics.  Most push-up perpetrators don't realize they are committing cardinal crimes when practicing this exercise.  It is for this reason that I suggest moving your workout to a room with a mirror.  Doing so allows you to catch flaws in your form, like hiked hips and a strained neck.

Proper Push-up Checklist:

  • Shoulders are pulled back toward the spine and away from the ears.
  • The body is as flat as a board, forming a straight line from the top of your head, down to your heels.
  • Clench your glutes.  Doing so secures the positioning of the hips, and helps get your core muscles involved in the fun.
  • The upper arms are squeezed tight against the ribs (imagine you are trying to hold a tissue under your armpit).  This contraction helps activate the latissimus dorsi muscle on the sides of your back.
  • The neck is neutral.  No tucked necks, no far gazes.  Your eyes are focused on a spot slightly above your fingertips to avoid strained muscles.

When done properly, the push-up targets the Triceps, Pectoralis Major, Abdominal Muscles, Serratus Anterior and Deltoids.

Once you have achieved prime push-up form, challenge your fitness level by changing up the positioning of your hands to target specific muscle groups and increase the intensity of your workout.

Diamond Push-up.  This push-up begins with the hands aligned directly beneath the chest, and the pointer fingers and thumbs touching to form a diamond shape.  Exhale as you bend the elbows, lowering your body toward the floor.  Push through the hands and squeeze your pecs to bring the body up to the starting position.

Staggered Hand Push-up.  This advanced move brings the hands out into a wider, diagonal stance, which increases the weight load on the arms, chest and core muscles.  Start by positioning the right hand slightly higher than the right shoulder, and the left hand slightly lower than the left shoulder.  Keep the arms tight to the body as you lower yourself down toward the ground.  Push through the hands to return to the starting position.

When it comes to fixing faulty form, practice makes perfect.

Earn it.

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