Mary Pat Hawkins

Mary Pat’s Plank/Push Up 101

Have you ever wanted to do a Plank and a Push Up but weren’t sure if you were doing them correctly? Here are some tips to help learn how to Plank and Push Up.

  1. 1
    ​Beginners can start a Plank and/or Push Up from a standing position at a wall. Feet should be hip-width apart.
  2. 2
    ​For Plank have wrists lined up directly under shoulders. Make sure elbows are slightly bent to take pressure off the wrists. Walk the feet back enough that you can feel the abdominals/core area engage or tighten. Hold for as long as you can, working up to a minute and then eventually longer than a minute.
  3. 3
    ​To execute the Push Up from the wall have hands wider than the shoulders. Slowly drop your body weight towards the wall and then using your chest shoulders and arms push yourself back to a straight-arm position being careful to not snap into the elbows or lock them out. Keep the abdominals/core area engaged or tight the entire time.
  4. 4
    ​Once you have become more proficient in your Planks and Push Ups, or they seem to be easy, you can challenge yourself by working your way down towards lower surfaces. Next level may be a counter top, then to a table top maybe to a lower stair or stoop. Eventually the goal is to be doing Planks and Push Ups from the floor.

People who have shoulder or back issues may consider executing these exercises from a higher level than a floor to ensure safety.

Quick tips

  • Once you begin to start your movements from a lower level be sure to keep the buttocks level with or slightly higher than the shoulders.
    Engage the Abs/Core at all times. Keep your head in line with your spine, try not to let head drop, also try not to look up to high as both of these moves with put strain on the neck.
  • Modified Planks from the floor could be one knee touching down and one leg straight out. Be sure to alternate modifying knee.
    Modified Push Ups would have both knees touching the floor. Make sure you have a soft surface. In a modified Push Up on the floor, it is important to maintain your body alignment, be careful not to stick the buttocks up in the air.
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