4 Things To Help You Do Full Body Push Ups
There's nothing more empowering than being able to lift, push or pull your own bodyweight. It's why full body push ups are a much loved classic exercise. But not everyone can do them. If you can't do a full body push up without your head thrusting forward, your hips sagging to the floor or completing the full range of movement, it might be down to a few things.
- The lack the strength to actually do the push up
- The lack of stability in the shoulders
- You lack core reflex stabilisation.
Lets break it down:
Lack of core reflex stabilisation is a fancy way of saying that you don't currently have the ability to transfer load from your upper body, to the lower body. When I screen clients for movement and discover they have poor core reflex stabilisation (and cannot do a full body push up), the first thing I do is regress the exercise and guide them through a few foundational steps. The good news is that there's lot's of push up variations and processes that will eventually lead you to full body push ups. We'll quickly run through some basic ones below.
- Planking: Anything that challenges your anterior chain in a functional way will eventually help your push up end game. Working on your planks will help strengthen the core and shoulders.
- Mountain Climbers: Mountain climbers add some instability to the plank position which challenges your shoulders and core reflex stabilisation.
- Standing Wall Push Ups: Before you jump right into push ups on the floor, spend a few sessions either doing sets of push ups against the wall or with your hands on a high bench. This reduces the load that you have to transfer from the upper body to lower body.
- Push ups from knees: You're starting to get there! Position your hands underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips. Then lower your upper body towards the floor, keeping your head in a neutral position. If this is too easy, move your knees further back. Just make sure that your lower back is not over arched.
- Full body push up: Here you are! Rocking full body push ups. Have a trainer or friend check out your form. If you can't do that have a mirror handy to make sure that your head stays in a neutral position, your hips are not sagging and that you can go through the full range of movement.
So, if you're struggling with push ups remember, as with any great achievement, things take time. So go easy on yourself, break things down where you have to or find a trainer that can guide you through this process. Preferably one that understands movement screens and how to ultilise the information from them correctly.
Simon has a Bachelor of Human Movement, is a certified FMS trainer and has worked in the fitness industry since 2003. Simon started his fitness journey as a trainer with iNform Health and Fitness before moving into commercial radio and then back into fitness with Bodyism in the United Kingdom and Australia. A career highlight was being one of Daisy Ridley's Personal Trainers on Star Wars IX - The Rise Of Skywalker.