FIND THE RIGHT HEIGHT/SET-UP – Either do these on the floor, with feet elevated, or on a box or bar with your arms elevated to make it easier. This is important. To do this right, you need to be able to perform 5 reps perfectly–without breaking form, with a powerful push–or you’re not doing them right. As you’ll read below, the benefit comes from the speed, not grinding through reps, so you MUST find the right level. Don’t be too ambitious.
HOLD GOOD POSTURE – Pelvis in a slight posterior tilt, stay nice and tall and don’t let that change as you go through your reps.
HANDS LEVEL WITH LOWER CHEST; NOT SHOULDERS – if you struggle with push-ups, pay particular attention to this. It’s not good pushing mechanics to have your hands level with your shoulders–even if it feels better in the short-term.
LOWER SLOWLY, EXPANDING YOUR CHEST AS YOU GO – the more you feel your chest open and the muscle fibres stretch, the stronger you’re going to be.
PAUSE – at the bottom, keep your body in a tight straight line, abs braced gently, feel the chest stretched (loaded as we say)
POWERFULLY DRIVE BACK UP – as you exhale. Nothing moves but your chest and arms. Focus on on pushing the floor or bar away, push as quickly as you can to the top position and then pause briefly there before going again.
DO 5-8 REPS AND THEN STOP – this drill is about getting reps in with perfect form, getting good at doing it well, not about trying to fatigue or grind out maximum strength sets.
A FEW PROGRESSIONS/DRILLS TO CONSIDER
PRACTICE ‘AIR PUSH-UPS’ — If you really struggle, just practicing the movement standing up or with a very light resistance band will help you.
DISH — If you can’t hold posture, you need to practice The Dish Exercise more and learn to transfer the feelings to other exercises.
HOLD STRAIGHT ARM STATIC PLANK — To build some basic arm strength.
SLOW DOWN — until you can do it well, then try to go fast.
ADJUST HEIGHT OF HANDS AND FEET TO MAKE EASIER OR HARDER — this should be enough for most people, except for the really strong folks.
ADD WEIGHT VEST — If you’re worthy.