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Women's Fitness Program: Complete a Push Up

Jan 2, 2010

This women's fitness program will leave you better able to complete a push up, despite the seemingly daunting quality of the exercise. Women typically have proportionately slighter, small upper bodies, so it's important to focus on building the appropriate muscle groups and developing impeccable form and posture. Keep reading for tips before and during the drop to the floor.

Start with Strong Arms

Jumping into a push-up challenge having never done any upper body work might leave you disappointed. Spaghetti arms might make the exercise seem monumental, when in reality, it takes proper conditioning, concentration and form. Push ups can certainly help build chest and arms, but strengthening and toning those muscle groups prior to trying to complete the perfect push up will prove beneficial. Work on strengthening shoulder and chest muscles through chest presses, and build up the supporting upper arm muscles with bicep curls and tricep lifts.

Army Shoulders

One of the most important elements to completing a push up in a successful and strengthening way is proper shoulder formation. Here are some steps to get your delts where they need to be to have enough power to lower and raise your whole body:

  • Tough palms flat to the ground, with your arms straightened directly under the roundest, boniest part of your shoulder.
  • Lower yourself, with your arms bending and elbows going directly out to your sides, so that when fully lowered, they form a parallel line with your shoulders.
  • Keep shoulders tight and strong so that your back doesn't droop. Shoulder blades should not be moving toward each other as you lower your body.
  • For a slightly different workout, you can keep elbows close your sides and have elbows go behind your shoulders when lowered. This will focus on the tricep muscles instead.

Modify to Learn

When doing a push up, forming a proper line with your legs and back is just as important as solid shoulders. This can be one of the trickier parts to master, so be sure not to push yourself. One way to learn this gradually and to perfect your form before launching into a full-on push up is first completing a modified push up. This will have you rest on your knees rather than your toes, giving your body less length and weight to lower. To do these, kneel with your knees together and place your arms so that they and your shoulders rest in the formation described in the previous section. Your knees and arms should be as stretched apart as possible while still keeping proper upper body form. The body should be at about a 30-degree angle to the floor. As your body lowers, be sure that your stomach and waist do not droop toward the floor, but maintain a solid line with the rest of your body.

Take the Training Wheels off

Once you've mastered the modified push up, translate the same strategy into the full-on version of the exercise. Balance your lower body on the floor with feet together, maintaining the same diagonal line  and angle as before with your core and shoulders. Focus on not letting your knees gravitate toward the ground.

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