How to do Your First Pushup

How to do Your First Pushup

The pushup, a fundamental bodyweight exercise, is often seen as a rite of passage in fitness. It's a cornerstone movement that engages multiple muscle groups, including the chest, shoulders, triceps, and core. However, for beginners, accomplishing that first, full-form pushup can feel like a Herculean task. Fear not! This beginner's guide is designed to take you from zero to your first full pushup with confidence and strength.

Understanding the Pushup

A pushup is a resistance exercise where you lift your body using your arms while facing down. It's a measure of upper body strength and endurance, but doing it correctly requires more than just arm strength; it also needs core stability and lower back strength.

Step 1: Start with the Basics

Assess Your Current Strength

Before attempting your first pushup, assess your current level of upper body and core strength. Can you hold a plank for at least 20 seconds? If not, start there. Planks are an excellent way to build the core strength necessary for a successful pushup.

Learn the Form

Proper form is crucial for effectiveness and preventing injury. A good pushup starts with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your body in a straight line from your head to your heels. Your elbows should bend back at a 45-degree angle to your body.

Step 2: Modified Pushups

Don’t jump straight into standard pushups without building some foundational strength. Modified pushups are an excellent way to start.

Wall Pushups

Stand arm’s length away from a wall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lean forward and place your palms on the wall, shoulder-width apart. Bend your elbows to bring your chest towards the wall, then push back to the starting position. Aim for 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions.

Incline Pushups

Once you’re comfortable with wall pushups, move to incline pushups. Use a sturdy bench, table, or even stairs. The higher the surface, the easier the pushup will be. Focus on maintaining proper form. Perform 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions.

Step 3: Building Core Strength

A strong core is essential for a successful pushup. Incorporate exercises like planks, side planks, and bird dogs into your routine. Aim to hold planks and side planks for 30 seconds to a minute and perform 2-3 sets of bird dogs with 10-12 repetitions on each side.

Step 4: Graduating to Knee Pushups

Knee pushups are a closer approximation to standard pushups and help build the strength required for the full movement. Ensure your body forms a straight line from your knees to your head. Avoid letting your hips sag or stick up in the air. Work up to 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions.

Step 5: Negative Pushups

Negative pushups focus on the lowering phase of the pushup. Start in a standard pushup position, then slowly lower yourself to the ground for a count of 3-5 seconds. Once your chest touches the floor, reset back to the starting position by getting up however you can, without pushing up. This builds strength and muscle memory. Aim for 3 sets of 5-8 repetitions.

Step 6: Your First Full Pushup

Now, you're ready to attempt your first full pushup. Don't be discouraged if you can't do it immediately. It's a process. If you struggle, continue with the previous steps, gradually increasing your strength and endurance.

Tips for Success

  • Be Consistent: Practice regularly. Consistency is key to progress.
  • Listen to Your Body: If you feel pain (not to be confused with the expected muscle soreness), take a break and adjust your form.
  • Celebrate Progress: Every step forward is an achievement. Celebrate your progress, no matter how small.

Final Thoughts

Mastering your first pushup is a significant milestone on your fitness journey. It's not just about physical strength; it's about perseverance, discipline, and the willingness to step out of your comfort zone. Remember, every expert was once a beginner. Keep pushing, and you'll not only master the pushup but also set the foundation for a stronger, healthier you.

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