07 Aug Move of the Month Review: Push-Ups with Lee
If you follow us on Instagram (and you totally should – @FLEXcityFitness), then you’ve seen our weekly installments of #ModifyWithFLEX featuring instructor, Lee McLaughlin. We compiled all her notes on progressively modifying a favorite FLEXcity exercise, the push-up.
Begin each push-up modification by placing your hands directly under or in front of your shoulders on the surface you are using. Your hands should be about shoulder distance apart and your feet should be hip distance apart. For more stability, increase the base of your support by widening your feet and spreading your fingers. Maintain a neutral spine by lengthening your body and remaining in a strong plank position. The top of your head should be forward. In other words, we want you looking at the ground directly under you while voiding drawing your chin to your chest or your forehead upward. Pull your navel in toward the spine and mindfully utilize your entire core. Engage the muscles of your legs by contracting your quadriceps. You may notice that your knee caps pull closer up toward your thighs. If you find that your hips are pushing back, bring them down while scooping your pelvis under. This is your starting position.
Once in position (see modifications below), lower your body down with control while inhaling. Bring your chest to hover a couple of inches above the surface while the elbows bend out away from your body at about a 45 degree angle. Exhale as you press up through your hands while maintaining a strong core all the way back to your starting position. That was one repetition.
Option #1 – Incline Push-Up
An incline push-up changes the angle of your body in relation to the floor, placing your hands at a higher level than your feet. It brings the floor closer to you by utilizing another surface. Depending on your fitness level, you may begin by using the wall for push-up, then progress to the barre, then the bench! The further away from the ground your upper body is, the easier the movement will be and vise versa.
Option #2 – Knee Push-Up
Begin in a straight arm plank position. From here, bend at the knees to drop the tops of the thighs to the ground. This will be your point of contact and the pivot point for your push-up. You want to be a straight line from the crown of your head down to the tops of your thighs. Draw the hips toward the ground without sagging the belly toward the floor. Engage your core and pull your heels toward your seat. This is your starting position.
Option #3 – Standard Push-Up
Begin in a straight arm plank position. Your body is parallel with the floor and forms a straight line from the crown of your head all of the way to your heels. Mindfully engage your core and quadriceps as you focus on your breath with each repetition.
Option #4 – Decline or Single Leg Push-Up
A decline push-up changes the angle of your body in relation to the floor by raising your feet above your torso. This engages your chest muscles more than a standard push-up. Carefully place both feet on a step, bench, or large block (the higher the surface, the harder the push-up!) and raise your body into a straight arm plank position. Maintain a strong core and proper form as you work through these advanced push-ups.
Single leg push-ups work your core by de-stabilizing your body. Begin in a straight arm plank position and walk your feet close together until they are touching and in line with your spine. Slowly raise one leg into the air. Mindfully disperse your body weight between both hands and the foot that is still on the ground. Engage your core and lower your body downward to begin the repetition.
Be sure to check out our Instagram for videos of Lee performing each modification! We will be posting the August modifications soon.
Which exercise do you want us to demo next? Leave a comment below.