Sean Harding of Back2Basics Fitness Studio is a master of form and movement pattern. His ethic and philosophy has informed his coaching style: focus on building a strong foundation first, a strong body on top of that foundation and begin to progress your form with a core knowledge base and a body that can tackle bigger challenges.
In this series, he lends us his expertise for mastering some of the most common (and commonly misinterpreted) exercises.
First up: THE PUSH-UP!
First things first! Get your pelvis position right.
- Start on all fours and focus on pelvis position first
- Go into an arched back position (the ‘cow’ of cat-cow!), pushing your belly button down towards the ground
- Then go into a hollow-body form, tilting the opposite direction (the ‘cat’ of cat-cow).
Hollow-body high plank
Step both feet back into a high plank position.
Tip your heels forward, balancing on your tip-toes.
Spread your fingertips and grip the floor with your hands.
Twist your elbows in towards the body and squeeze your glutes+quads tight.
Hold this position! Once you can hold for a few 45-60 second rounds, you’re good to move on to the next step!
Take up the high plank position again.
From here, drop both knees to the ground, maintaining the same form in your upper body (glutes+quads tight, flingers pressing into the ground).
Keeping your elbows tight to your body, push the shoulders forward as you lower your upper body to the ground. Your hips and chest should be lowering to the ground at the same level.
Bring your body all the way to the ground, gently touching your face to the surface below you.
Then, using your arms and maintaining your core form, drive your body up again, keeping your knees on the ground.
Make sure when you are pushing up, you’re not arching your back - maintaining strength and form throughout.
Once you can do 10 of these push-ups in a row, keeping the correct form, you’re ready to move on to step 3!
Full push-up with knee-brace
Find your full high plank position (knees off the ground) and stay mindful of your core strength and form through your body.
Grip your fingers to the floor, keeping your elbows tight against your body.
Engage your quads+glutes and begin to lower your body to the ground, making sure your hips and your chest are moving together.
Lower your body all the way to the ground, and then gently drop your knees to the floor.
Using your knees to balance you and keeping your full body engaged, push your upper body off the ground into your all-fours position.
When you can complete 10 repetitions of these, head towards step 4!
Take up your high plank position with knees off the ground and engage your core, quads and glutes.
Grip your fingers, keep elbows tight to the body and slowly lower your full body to the ground.
Keeping your lower body off the ground, begin to push yourself up, back into your high plank position.
When you can complete 10 reps of the full push-up, maintaining your strength and control through each movement, then you can officially say you’ve mastered the basics of the push-up!