The push up was once regarded as a measure of a man’s strength, and though it has lost some of its hype, it is still a movement representing mastery of skill. The push-up is a movement that is often executed improperly. What is an honest push-up?

An honest push-up moves slowly from full extension to a point of maximum depth without “reaching” for the ground or perturbing the body’s taut, rigid, straight-line posture, and then returns rigidly to full extension. Done correctly, the push-up is a super demanding whole-body movement. Engage as many stabilizers as possible. -Greg Glassman

 The two most common “reaching” cheats are done by craning the neck to find the ground with the nose early or dropping the belly or thighs to find the bottom early. The idea is to slow, not advance, the body’s parts from finding bottom – nose, chest, belly, thighs, and pelvis are each in a race to see which can reach bottom last, not first.

Bad form is evident when the butt sticks up or the belly sags toward the floor. A drop of the middle (belly sagging) or lifting of the butt in the air disqualifies a push up from being “honest”. So does stopping and resting at any point. The standard is tough – super-taut straight body, full range of motion (without “reaching”), and resting only when finished.

Tips for improving the push up.

  • Work on proper form. In CrossFit people often forget the importance of technique and sacrifice form for time or reps. This practice is a self inflicted handicap. First make the choice to be a better performer.
  • Practice full range of motion, move slow, be precise, and stay rigid.
  • Set goals to become stronger. Start low. Work your way up.

 There are many different ways to help you achieve a full push-up.  Please ask your trainers for progressions.  Also, if you have already mastered the push-up, try ring push-ups or prallette push-ups.  If that isn’t enough, try some of this stuff:


Thursday’s WOD:

“Girls Gone Wild”

10 Ground to Overhead wt: 62kg, 42kg

50 Double Unders

50 Sit Ups

21 Thrusters:  wt: 42kg, 30kg

21 Pull Ups

10 Ground to Overhead wt: 62kg, 42kg

This is one of my favorite workouts!  Let’s have some fun.

content contributed in part by Reets.

Categories: Technique


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