LMX101: The Push Up

LMX101: The Push Up

The arch nemesis of so many women, Lomax Personal Trainer, Jordan Lue, breaks down the Push Up…

One of the most common things I hear when meeting a new female client is the insistence that they are not strong enough to perform the dreaded Push Up.

“I’ve been trying for years and I just can’t do them. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to. Women aren’t meant to do push ups”.

From the Physical Education classes to the gym setting, the disparity between men and women in terms of strength and fitness is clear to see…

Females, on average, have less total muscle mass than males. As a result, maximal strength is reduced. Measures of upper body strength suggest an average 40-50% difference between the sexes, compared to a 30% difference in lower body strength.” 

So if science states that men do have a strength advantage in the upper body, how do women go about gaining appreciable strength in one of our most basic and primal movements?


Technique & Form

1. Hand Position
Adopt a 45 degree angle rather than a 90 degree for stable and safer positioning.

2. Head Position
Don’t impersonate a turtle by allowing your neck to sag toward the floor. Not only will you look silly, but you are more likely to induce neck pain.

3. Trunk Stability
Think of a push up like a plank on your hands. Now consider that plank with movement. This is essentially what a push up is. Just like all movement, the push up requires synergy through the whole body. By stabilising your trunk, you allow your arms, chest, and shoulders to provide the strength and mobility required to complete the exercise.

4. Pelvic Tilt
Pelvic tilt is the foundation of pretty much all optimal movement. Incorrect alignment in the pelvis during an exercise can be the difference between great results and not so great results. By maintaining ‘Posterior Pelvic Tilt’ (PPT) during the push up, you enable your body to provide great stability.

5. Knees & Feet
Keep the knees locked and squeeze your quads throughout the entire movement. The feet can be slightly apart or together.


Exercise Progression

Elevated Push Up
The elevated push up a great place to start as it takes away the need to handle the whole of your body weight. It also gives you more time to practice correct form and feel which muscles should be working.

Negative Push Up
With the negative (eccentric) push up, you work on the downward phase of the movement, completely removing the upward phase (concentric). It’s awesome for teaching correct alignment and has been proven to yield better muscle development than solely focusing on the upward phase.

Block Push Ups
For those who have managed to understand good push up alignment but are yet to master full depth, here comes one of my favourite push up builders – block push ups. Unlike the negative push up, it incorporates both eccentric and concentric phases. However we have your chest lowering to a pre-determined depth. With a block in place, we can now see where exactly form may breakdown and how we can go about correcting that. Does the technical breakdown come from your core, your arms, or maybe your triceps could be a little stronger? Seeing this level of detail makes it easier to create a system based on long term progress.

Push ups are one of the most basic, yet important movements. Hopefully by having some more insight on how to improve the movement will help you become more confident and turn your bodies into push up machines!

Jordan Lue is a Personal Trainer and NASM Performance Enhancement Specialist at Lomax Chelsea. Call 020 7352 0598 or email thelomaxway@lomaxpt.com to request a session with Jordan.


Lomax Chelsea offers a wide range of services tailored to meet your every fitness needs. If you’ve haven’t trained before or have never tried Personal Training, the Lomax Fitness MOT is a complimentary one-on-one session with one of the highly skilled Lomax Personal Trainers to assess your fitness levels and help begin your fitness journey. Call 020 7352 0598 or email thelomaxway@lomaxpt.com to book a complimentary Fitness MOT.


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