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Don't make these common pushup mistakes

"Aundrea" (2020-04-21)

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Pushups are great full-body workout moves.

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In my humble opinion, if there's one workout move that is always hard -- no matter how "in shape" you are -- it's a pushup. Even on my best workout day, pushups are still a challenge. It doesn't matter if you're doing a full-body pushup, a modified one on your knees or another variation -- I'll always feel the burn fast. 

Given that pushups are a tried-and-true move that you'll do in basically any workout or class, it's a good idea to learn to do one correctly. According to fitness trainer and founder of Taylored Fitness and the Ignite Program, Brooke Taylor, people do them incorrectly all the time. Part of the problem is not being strong enough to do one in the first place -- and working your way up to doing pushup correctly is no simple feat. 

It takes a combination of strength, endurance and stamina to master pushups. But it's well worth the effort -- the pushup is a simple yet highly efficient way to work your entire body. "Pushups are a great full body exercise designed to build muscular endurance and strength. They activate the chest, core, legs, shoulders, triceps and glutes to maintain proper form. The beauty of pushups is that they can be done anywhere and anytime because they require no equipment," Taylor said.

Keep reading to find out how to do a pushup with perfect form, how to build up the strength to do them more and what you can do to advance once you master the basic pushup.

How to do a pushup correctly
Whether you can do 20 pushups in one go or have never even tried one, it never hurts to have a refresher on the basics of how to do a pushup correctly. Here's how to do one, according to Taylor.

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6 Ways To Progress A Push Up

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Here are Taylor's instructions for the correct pushup form:

1. Start in a quadruped position with your hands directly underneath your shoulders (or slightly wider) and your knees directly underneath your hips.

2. Engage your core and extend one leg out then bring the other to meet it forming one nice long position -- a plank.  Focus on keeping a nice neutral spine throughout with your focus directly in between your hands.

3. As you inhale lower your body down to hover off of the ground, forming a 90-degree angle from shoulder, elbow to hand.  As you exhale push the floor away keeping the body strong and tight.

Read more: Peloton, Daily Burn and more: Best workout subscription apps  

Common form mistakes to look out for
Even though pushups are pretty simple exercises, there are a lot of ways to do them incorrectly. Below are the most common form mistakes Taylor sees all the time.

Forward head: When your head is jutting forward, and not in line with the rest of your body.

Elevated shoulders: Keep your shoulders down, away from your ears and as relaxed as possible.

Lower back caved in: Keep your lower back neutral by making your sure core is engaged, avoid arching or caving it to protect your back.

Hips pushed up toward the ceiling: A pushup is not a down-dog or a stretch, so if you let your hips rise you lose the work in your core. 

"A lot of these form mistakes are a result of the client not being able to carry their own body weight and as a result they start to compensate in order to muscle through the exercise," Taylor said. If you notice that you're making these form mistakes, consider progressing your way up to a pushup, which you can learn how to do below. 

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