How to do push-up modifications to build strength, correct form




YMCA of York
Wellness Director Cori Strathmeyer said the push-up is a great exercise to work the front and back of your body — chest, shoulders, back and core. However, many people do the exercise incorrectly.

To do a push-up, position your hands slightly wider than your shoulders. Extend your legs back and steady yourself on your toes. While keeping your body in a line, bend your arms, and lower your chest toward the floor. Push your body back to starting position without locking your arms. Repeat.

If you don’t feel strong enough to do a push-up in proper form, Strathmeyer recommended modifying the move as a way to build strength and still work your upper body.

“Doing a modified push-up allows you to increase your range of motion and really focus on the muscles that you’re trying to target,” she said.

Push-up modifications

1. While on your knees: position your hands slightly wider than shoulders on the floor. Keep your back straight and your neck in line with your spine. Drop down toward floor, don’t lay on floor, and push back up without locking your elbows. Keep abdominal muscles tight.

2. Wall push-up: If you don’t feel comfortable doing push-ups on the floor, stand in front of a wall, and position your hands slightly wider than your shoulders. With your body in a line, bend your arms, and move your body toward the wall. Push your body back to starting position without locking your arms.

In this video, Strathmeyer demonstrates both modifications.

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About Leigh Zaleski

I'm a health features reporter for the York Daily Record/Sunday News and healthy living blogger for No Sweat, York. Contact me with story ideas at lzaleski@ydr.com, 717-771-2101 or @leighzaleski on Twitter.
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One Response to How to do push-up modifications to build strength, correct form

  1. Dawn Cutaia says:

    Before I did push ups I did planks. I think that planks are a great way to strengthen your core and if you think about it – a plank is a push up without the pushing part. :) It is easy to do push ups or planks incorrectly when you are first learning how to do them; it is a good idea to get a trainer or someone who knows what they are doing to watch you to make sure your form is correct. Bad form leads to bad backs.

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