The best way to get better at push-ups is to do them, says CrossFit trainer and EVF Performance owner Eric Von Frohlich. But in order to get there, you may need to strengthen the many muscles involved first.
Here, Von Frohlich demonstrates two exercises that will strengthen your abs, back, and glutes in one motion, helping you build stability from the top of your head to your tailbone.
And he shares a push-up variation that’s easier to do but will still allow you to progress towards perfection (unlike dropping to your knees). Here are three moves to improve your push-ups…
All Photos: Lisa Elaine Held for Well+Good
Lay flat on your stomach on the ground. Lift your chest and legs off of the floor at the same time, keeping your chin tucked to maintain the stability of the cervical spine. Avoid arching your back. Lift up and down, doing sets of 5, 10, 15, and then 20, as you get stronger.
Start by lying down on your back. Point your toes, tighten up your legs, and “flex every muscle you have control over.” Lift your shoulders and legs up as you reach forward, holding onto your thighs if you need assistance. Get your shoulders off of the ground, so that only your lower back and glutes touch the floor, and then rock forward and backwards, your entire body moving as a unit. “The important thing is to keep the lower back flat and the glutes and abs tight, so you’re not arching your back.”
This push-up variation will allow you to practice perfect form while taking some of the weight off your arms. (Von Frohlich says push-ups on your knees aren’t going to do the trick.) You can do this push-up on a bar (pictured), use a park bench, or use a wall. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, tighten your abs and glutes, and move your entire body down until your chest touches the bar. Push back up immediately, in a fluid motion, without resting at the bottom.