How To Get Better at Pushups Fast
In fitness, there seem to be so many exercises that you can do to target each muscle group. It seems like there’s a new workout trend coming out each year and a new exercise that will give you the “best results.” Although most of these trends only last a short time, there are a few tried-and-true OG (aka original) exercises. These exercises are the ones everyone usually thinks of: squats, lunges, curls, pullups and pushups. And there’s a reason these exercises have always maintained their popularity — it’s because they work.
Fitness folks derive most of the “new” exercises from the classic go-to moves because they are so effective. Think about curtsy lunges. This is obviously just a form of a lunge that targets a separate muscle group. Or one-handed pushups, since they’re just the more intense version of a regular pushup. Moral of the story: there’s a reason these exercises, especially pushups, have maintained their popularity throughout the years. And if I had to guess, it will just continue to grow as the years pass by.
So, let’s talk about pushups. They seem like a simple bodyweight exercise, right? You pretty much just lower your body towards the ground and then lift back up. But if you have ever tried (and failed) at pushups, then you know there’s so much more to it than that. It’s a surefire way to show you how much your upper body lacks strength. Which typically makes a person wonder how to get better at pushups fast! Luckily, there are a few steps you can take if you’re searching for an answer on how to get better at pushups fast – and I have those for you!
Why are Pushups so Popular?
I haven’t met many people who don’t know what a pushup is. It’s probably one of the most popular, if not most popular, exercises performed in the fitness industry. But what makes pushups so popular? That’s a good question. The answer? Because they work!
Pushups are for building upper body strength and helping build or maintain muscle mass. In addition, pushups are easy to learn and master by doing them consistently! You know that old saying “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” That’s about the best way to describe the popularity surrounding pushups. Time and time again, the method has proven to provide results. Why change something that clearly works?
What Muscles do Pushups Work?
Are you a big fan of upper body workouts? Are you searching for an exercise that works the chest, shoulders, biceps, triceps and core? You might not think such an exercise exists. But I’m here to tell you it does. That exercise is pushups! Hence the reason that you see them done in the gym, army barracks, by professional athletes, etc. Pushups are the ultimate upper body and core killer! But how to get better at pushups fast?
How to Properly Do a Pushup
Since you’re wondering how to get better at pushups fast, then step 1 is knowing how to perform a pushup correctly. Using proper form when exercising is crucial. This ensures that you’re targeting the right muscle groups and keeping them safe. Here’s the correct way to do a pushup:
- Start with your feet together and your hands slightly wider than shoulder width distance apart. Note: if you need to change to make the exercise easier, you can separate the feet some.
- Your head and hips should remain aligned with your spine at all times. Your body should form a straight line from the crown of your head to the heels. Keep the pelvic bone tucked, squeeze your glutes, and keep the core engaged to help your body maintain the right position.
- As you lower down, keep your elbows tucked in close to your rib cage. Your elbows should form a 45-degree angle to your torso when viewed from above. This will help to prevent your shoulders from hurting when doing pushups.
- Your chest should be a few inches from touching the floor once you have reached the lowest point in the exercise.
- When you extend back up into the starting position, your weight should remain evenly distributed between each hand. In addition, your shoulders and torso shouldn’t twist.
Exercises that can Help
Step 2 on how to get better at pushups fast is by doing exercises that help strengthen the involved muscles. By performing certain exercises that target those muscle groups, it will help you build up your strength and stamina. Which will have you doing pushups with ease in no time!
They named the chest press after the muscle group it targets. Here’s how to do a chest press:
- Start on the floor or a bench with a dumbbell in each hand.
- Place the dumbbells at the shoulders with your upper arms at about 45 degrees to the body with your elbows facing forward and the shoulders in line to avoid causing shoulder damage. With your palms facing forward, wrap your thumbs tightly around the handle.
- Make sure the core is engaged, tilt your chin toward your chest and ensure you are in a stable position. Once you feel comfortable, you are ready to lift.
- Push the weights up on an exhale. Your weights should follow a shallow arc and come closing to meeting over the top of your chest. You can straighten the arms as long as you don’t do it with a sudden or momentous force.
- Your head and shoulder blades should not lift off of the bench or ground.
- Keep the muscles contracted and slowly lower the weights back to the starting position.
Pushups work everything from your upper body to the core muscles. A plank is another great exercise that targets these muscle groups and will help strengthen them. Here’s how to do a plank:
- Start in plank position with your face down and forearms & toes on the floor. The elbows should be directly under the shoulders and forearms should face forward. Keep the head relaxed and gaze down at the floor.
- Engage your abdominal muscles and start pulling the navel into the spine. Be sure to keep your torso straight and your body in a straight line. There shouldn’t be any sagging in the hips or bending. It’s important that the spine maintains a neutral position and that you pull the shoulders down away from the ears. In addition, make sure the heels are over the balls of the feet.
- Hold the position anywhere from 10 seconds to one minute, then lower down.
If you are anything like me, then triceps are the hardest muscle group to work. This is an imperative muscle group for pushups, so it’s important to build it. Here’s how to do tricep dips:
- Start at the edge of a chair or bench and grip the part next to your hips. Make sure your fingers are pointing towards the feet, extend your legs out, feet are hip-width apart and heels are on the ground. Keep your gaze straight and chin lifted.
- Press into the palms of your hands to lift the body and shift forward far enough to where your bottom half lifts off the edge of the chair.
- Lower down until your elbows are bent between 45 and 90 degrees.
- In a slow and controlled movement, start pushing yourself back up to the starting position and then repeat.
How to get Better at Pushups
Pushups are hard. Especially if you are just beginning! So, it’s understandable if you are wondering how to get better at pushups fast. Here’s step 3 – there are a variety of modifications you can try to help get better at them. Here are a few pushup modifications:
Start with your hands elevated at least 12 inches and perform the pushup. You can do this against a wall. Keep in mind, the higher the surface is, the easier the move will be.
Decline Pushups/Feet Elevated
If you’re a pushup pro, try to elevate your feet on a box or bench. This will make the movement more challenging.
If you’re getting good at pushups, then try negative reps. This is where you take 10 to 20 seconds to lower yourself from the top position of the movement to the floor. Be sure to maintain proper form as you lower down and lift back into plank position.
Low to Mid Reps
Switch it up by doing low to mid rep pushups. This is where you go from the lowest point of your pushup to the midpoint, then back down!
From the plank position, swing your right leg out sideways to bring the right knee into the right elbow as you bend your arms down into pushup position. Push back up and replace the leg back in plank position. Repeat with the left side.
Pushups are the ultimate classic bodyweight exercise. They work your chest, shoulders, biceps, triceps and core. The best thing is, you can do them anywhere. But they can be hard for beginners. If you are wondering how to get better at pushups fast, using the above strengthening exercises and pushup modifications will help you achieve that.