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Bodyweight exercises are king and the foundation to any great workout. When our body plays the part of resistance, we get a higher understanding of how to handle ourselves and get the most from the movement.

Additionally in order to perform bodyweight exercises with the right level of efficiency, we rely heavily on the core. Having a strong core ultimately means having a strong body.

One of the most important bodyweight exercises for a strong body is the pushup.

I’m going to break this move down and give you the regress or progress moves dependent on your current level. Remember, real improvement happens little by little. Just keep moving.

How to get the correct form

To engage the core when you do a pushup you need to ensure that the wrists, elbows and shoulders all in line - perpendicular to the floor, arms slightly wider that shoulder, core squeeze (so your abs and bum are tight.) Drop the body towards the floor and ‘push up’ keeping the body as strong and straight as possible. To protect the shoulders make sure the elbows are bending backwards.

Building up to a pushup - progression moves

If you believe that you currently lack the strength to do a pushup i’ve listed regression exercises below that you can perform to increase your shoulder and core strength.

Comment underneath if you’re unsure of any of the movements:

  • Low plank holds -  resting on your elbows and toes with a straight body off of the floor

  • High plank holds - resting on your hands and toes with a straight body higher off of the floor - wrists, elbows and shoulders in line

  • High plank to low plank - transition one arm at a time going from high plank down to low plank (as described above)

  • High plank to downward dog - starting in a high plank position, push your bum back keeping your legs and arms as straight as possible into a triangle position in the air

  • Negative pushups - focus on the downward phase of the pushup e.g. coming down for three seconds and up for one

Going beyond a push up - progressive moves

And for those that  have already mastered the basic pushup with correct form, I have added some variations to try below:

  • Wide pushups - hands wider than shoulders

  • Diamond pushups - a pushup with hands in a diamond position

  • Archer pushups -  hands wider than shoulders, hands pointing out bring your chest to one side over your hand whilst you fully extending the other, come up and take it to the other side

  • Pushup claps - pushing yourself up clap while body is in the air

  • Muay thai pushup - this requires a bit more air, clap your hands behind your back when after you’ve pushed up, your feet don’t leave the floor

  • Superman pushup - this move requires a lot more air, push up lifting arms and legs off the floor into a superman type position

Remember if you have any questions on form or integrating it into your workout comment below.

My clients will tell you that I’m obsessed with this move. It changes strength, form and frame for other moves. Integrate pushups into your workouts today and watch your strength and endurance grow every week.

Tag @ozonefitnessldn when you post up your attempts.

Me trying the Muay Thai push up in Stockwell in the summer

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