Technique of the Week: The Push Up

I know what you’re thinking – yeah I’m gonna talk about that same old push up your grade school gym teacher made you do.

Yep, same one.

I wouldn’t skip over this though, the push up is one of biggest bang for your buck exercises and it can be varied in countless ways to increase the challenge. They can also be done pretty much anywhere. This article goes into depth on the push up and provides many different variations of it.

Side note: One of the co-authors of that article, Elsbeth, gave me my first job in the first industry – something I’m beyond thankful for. If you’re in Ottawa and looking for a great gym to train at, she runs a semi-private gym (multiple training at the same time, cheaper than 1 on 1) called Custom Strength at Somerset and Preston.

I use the push up as a bit of an assessment on Day 1 with any client that I deem it safe to do so. To date, just one client has nailed it. Turned out he had competed at the national level in Taekwondo in his earlier years — no surprises there.

The truth is, a good push up is hard to find.

Great for challenging the musculature of the upper body, shoulder health and developing core strength the push up has plenty of reasons to be in your programs. At the time of this writing, different kinds of push ups are in my weekly plan.

So check out the tutorial below. Get your butt and abs tight, chin back and keep that posture tight throughout. For most, you’ll want to start with your hands on a bench or a higher setting in a rack – a railing at waist height provides an easy spot to learn from. Just work your way down.

And some may be best learning how to plank first — it’s the same thing just no push.

As always, let me know if you have any questions at

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