Once you begin your fitness journey, the next step is to enhance your workout routine to maximize your results. The push-up test is a universal tool to gauge one’s upper body strength and endurance.
It is an essential part of your fitness training routine, and professions requiring the highest fitness level, such as the Army, Navy, or Marines, use the push-up test as a decisive factor during their selection process.
Let us look at ways to improve your push-up routine and enhance your upper body strength and endurance.
The Basics Of Push-Up
Before incorporating push-ups into your training routine, it is essential to acquaint yourself with the basic principles of fitness training. Familiarizing yourself with the proper technique and things to be mindful of helps you train safely and systematically.
Make Realistic Goals
It is easy to get distracted by looking at other people’s workout regimes or wanting to follow the workout plan of someone on a completely different fitness level. But one must be mindful that the workout plan you make needs to cater to your specific needs.
Whether it is cardio or strength training, one needs a customized workout plan considering individual factors such as our current fitness levels, expectations, body type, weight, age, etc.
If you wish to build your upper body strength and improve your core muscles, it would be a good idea to try wall push-ups or incline push-ups before performing traditional push-ups.
It is essential to acknowledge your body’s weight-bearing capacity and increase your workout load gradually.
You can begin by doing five reps of simpler versions of push-ups and move on to complex versions of the same or increase your rep counts while maintaining good form.
Remain persistent and don’t attach your worth to the numbers on the weighing scale or the size of your shoulders.
Consistency in your efforts would lead to increased strength overall in your body. The key is trusting the process and being patient with your body.
Rest and Recover
Include rest within your training regime to give yourself time to heal and recover from the excruciating exercises. Include stretching exercises such as yoga or walking to conclude your workout session.
Pace yourself and make a weekly or monthly workout schedule instead of focusing on daily training. Strengthening your body is a time taking process. If you rush through the process, you may end up suffering from an injury.
Tips To Improve Your Speed and Endurance When Performing Push-ups
Once you have mastered the basics and learned proper technique and form, you can focus on improving your speed. The first step is to set a timer for one minute and track how many push-ups you can do to maintain good form.
Make a fitness diary and log the number of push-ups you completed each day. Repeat the timed exercise a couple of times and observe your progress. Note at what stage you feel fatigued and lose your form.
Tweak your push-up style by lowering your body to your knees or using a wall. As our muscles get used to the same amount of workouts, they get strengthened, improving our body’s endurance. The key is focusing on form, increasing the number of reps rather than increasing your count.
Keep Your Core Straight
Push-ups lose their efficacy when done without bracing one’s core. Irrespective of the number of reps you can do, if you do it with a rounded spine or “banana back,” you may not see desired results.
Bracing your core engages your core muscles and helps in strengthening them. When you keep your spine straight while doing push-ups, you reduce the risk of injury. It makes push-ups a full-body exercise and helps improve your overall fitness.
Squeeze Your Glutes
Squeezing your glutes engages them when doing push-ups, as they are the biggest muscle group that usually remains ignored. Pressing them protects your lower back in case of an injury and helps improve your posture.
When you engage your glutes, they provide full-body tension and keep your spine straight, helping you avoid banana back.
Flared elbows distribute the muscle tension that is responsible for strengthening tendons and muscles. It is commonly observed that people tend to spread their elbows wide, leading to shoulder and upper body issues.
An excellent way to ensure you don’t mistake flaring your elbows is by packing them on your sides, reducing the space between your armpits. Keep your hands and elbows parallel to your shoulder.
Having aligned joints when practicing compound strength exercises such as push-ups facilitates a free range of motion in your upper body. Keeping your elbows packed helps you exert more pressure on the floor and streamlines your push-up regime.
Maintain a Firm Grip On The Floor
When practicing the correct form, we tend to use our palms with our fingers pointing straight up. An alternative way that improves your grip on the floor is by moving your hands, so your thumbs face each other.
Open all your fingers and form a grip on the floor. Doing this can increase full-body tension and engage your upper-back muscles holistically.
Push The Ground Away
A secret tip we often forget when practicing push-ups is pushing the ground away from you instead of pushing yourself away from the floor.
This improves full-body tensions creating a bracing effect all over your body. Pushing the ground away from you engages more muscles and helps one tone their body.