Level up your push-up
Looking to up your game on one of the best exercises known to man? Here are six quick tips on how to get the most out of your push-ups.
Tip #1: Focus on stability
This isn't just about how shaky your arms feel—it's about being able to tie your core into the picture, so it feels like a full-body movement. The plank + shoulder tap is fantastic for this.
Tip #2: Stay in control
When you're doing push-ups, try your best to hold this core tension as you do controlled reps. Focus on quality over quantity here. Abs tight, butt tight!
Tip #3: Try slowing things down
If you want to optimize time under tension, try the 3-3 push-up (down for 3, up for 3) or the 5-3-1 push-up (slow descent, hold at the bottom, then explode back up). Stay tight, stay in control, and aim to go straight into the next rep.
Tip #4: Switch things up
As you get more confident with the push-up, try changing the position of your hands with a variation like the staggered push-up. Notice how your whole body (but especially your core) has to fight to stabilize.
Tip #5: Get explosive
When you're ready for it, mix in a little explosiveness and an even deeper core activation demand with a variation like the knee-tap push-up—this one is brutal no matter how fit you are, so don't worry if you need to throw in a couple of standard push-ups between reps!
Tip #6: Regress if you need to
As always, if you start to struggle with your form, simply switch to an easier variation and finish out the workout with perfect reps. There's no shame in falling back on the negative push-up if you need—focus on stability, and stay slow and controlled as you lower yourself.
We've got a ton of other push-up variations, across four levels of difficulty, in the Movement Library of the Ritual FIT app, so don't be afraid try some of them out in your upcoming workouts!
Ian Tan is the Co-Founder of Ritual. He’s got an MSc in Strength and Conditioning, a background in psychology, and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).