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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    Brandon’s Fitness Corner

    The push-up has a well-established reputation of being a classic muscle builder for the upper body and has become a staple of high school physical education programs and military physical training regimens alike.According to the September 2007 issue of Men’s Health Magazine, the push-up gauges how much force your body can generate with your chest, triceps, and shoulders while maintaining a tight core.‘ If done correctly, the push-up can also involve other supporting muscle groups, namely the upper back and parts of the legs. Unfortunately, though they may believe otherwise, many people are unable to perform push-ups properly.Wow, try saying that three times as fast.

    Let’s start off by going over how to perform a proper push-up:

    1. Begin by lying flat on the ground and placing your hands below your shoulders.

    2. Place your feet together with your toes touching the floor as they will be the pivot point for the rest of your body throughout the exercise.

    3. Straighten your legs and tighten your core as if bracing for a punch.

    4. Keeping your entire body straight, push your body up until your arms are fully extended and your elbows are locked out.Your head should be in a neutral position, your gaze focused perpendicular to the ground.*

    5. Lower your body back down to the starting position and lightly touch your chest to the ground at the bottom of the movement.Repeat.And repeat.And repeat’hellip;

    *It is ESSENTIAL that your body remain straight throughout the duration of the exercise.To get an idea of how this feels, have a training partner lay an object such as a broom handle or a wooden board on your back, along the length of your body.The object should remain flat from the back of your head to your butt down to your heels.

    Though push-ups seem like a relatively simple exercise to perform, it is all too common to see them being executed poorly.Following is a list of some common mistakes that are made by individuals who do push-ups, courtesy of the March 2003, Issue 07, Crossfit Journal article, ‘The Push-Up.’

    1. Sagging – Dropping the stomach in order to touch the ground early.This looks as if you are humping the ground.I don’t think the ground likes that.

    2. Piking – Sticking the buttocks in the air.This takes the weight of your body off of ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ your hands and places it on your feet.Push-ups are not done with your feet.

    3. Resting – Staying at the top position of the push-up for too long.You can be the judge of what ‘too long’ is.Lying on the ground at the bottom of the movement is also considered resting.

    4. Bouncing – Bouncing on the floor with your chest and stomach in order to pop back up without any effort.

    5. Yogaing – If you are familiar with yoga, think upward dog position.Yogaing is done when push-ups are performed where the head and neck come up from the bottom of the movement followed by the chest and stomach (NOTE: your head, neck, chest and stomach should come up together as if they were connected by an imaginary axis running from the top of your head down to the soles of your feet).

    6. Reaching ‘- Reaching with your head and neck to find the bottom of the movement early.This is also known as ‘pecking’, ‘bobbing for apples’, or ‘bobbing for insert your own noun here.’

    7. Shorting ‘- Here, the body remains rigid, but does not come all the way up or all the way down during the exercise.

    If necessary, have a training partner watch you as your perform your push-ups and have them correct you.Another set of eyes is always a great help when it comes to perfecting your form and it can also be very motivating.

    In my next article, I will share some of the different variations of push-ups that you can incorporate in your fitness regimen.For now, perfect your form on your push-ups and embrace the strength and health benefits of one of the first exercises you ever learned.

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