18 Underrated Core Exercises

18 Underrated Core Exercises

Often we fall back into using the same old moves, forgetting all of the options and variations out there. But having different variations of exercises to target the same area can help us create progression through the same but different.

It can help us even activate different muscles to different extents!

That’s why I want to throw back to the origins of my YouTube channel and share a Core Exercise Variations video with all of you.

These exercises work your entire core, frontside and backside.

Because sometimes we just need that library of move options to help remind us of all of the tools out there we have to meet our needs and goals and design the workouts that help us rock those results!

18 Underrated Core Moves

Balance Toe Touches 00:37
Cross Body Knees 00:54
Twist And Pivot 01:13
Wall Push 01:26
Side Balance Oblique Twists 01:35
Side Plank Clams 01:56
Plank with Reach Back and Out 02:12
Bulldog Reaches 02:34
Plank Snow Angels 02:55
Sit Thrus 03:39
3-Way Sit Up And Reach 03:59
Seated Hinges 04:24
C-Sit With Knees 04:42
Bridge to Boat 04:57
Banana Rolls 05:17
Butterfly Crunches 05:41
Frog Kickouts 05:57
Leg Wipers 06:12


15-Minute Core Burner

Complete 2-3 rounds through each circuit without resting. Rest no more than 30 seconds between circuits if possible. 

30 seconds Twist And Pivot
30 seconds per side Plank With Reach Back And Out
30 seconds C-Sit With Knees
30 seconds Frog Kickouts

30 seconds per side Cross Body Knees
30 seconds Plank Snow Angels
30 seconds 3-Way Sit Up And Reach
30 seconds Bridge To Boat

For more amazing workouts to match your needs, goals and schedule, check out Dynamic Strength!


5 Tweaks To improve Your Push Up Form

5 Tweaks To improve Your Push Up Form

Want to improve your push ups?

Then start focusing on what muscles you actually feel working during the movement.

When we get the correct muscles truly powering an exercise efficiently, we can see improvements almost instantly.

It’s not that we all of the sudden POOF got stronger…

It’s often just that we are using the correct muscles to the correct extents at the right times.

That’s why I wanted to share 5 quick tweaks to your push up form that can help you improve your push ups immediately.

These are mental cues and areas to focus on as you not only set up in the push up, but even perform the movement.

These changes help you load more efficiently and better engage those bigger muscle groups to support each other.

Not to mention these tweaks will help you avoid those common aches and pains that happen with push ups from adding up!

At the end I’ll also share a bonus tip to help you learn to make these adjustments and truly focus on what you feel working.

So let’s first start with our connection to the ground. As we need to create tension through the ground to properly activate everything.

#1: Spread Your Fingers And Grip The Ground With Your Entire Hand.

If you want to engage your chest, shoulders and triceps properly, you need to focus on your hand placement.

Too often we just set up with no thought as to the pressure we are really applying through our hands.

This not only leads to a less powerful press as we don’t fully activate our chest, but it can also lead to overload of our wrist and elbows.

So spread your fingers wide and focus on gripping the ground with every finger tip as well as your thumbs.

You want your middle fingers pointing straight ahead as well. This helps keep your shoulders in a good position.

Often we may find our hands want to turn in as our elbows flare out, and not only does this overload our wrist and elbows but it internally rotates our shoulders and can lead to us shrugging and ending up with neck or rotator cuff issues.

It also prevents us from having as strong a press because our chest can’t engage correctly and neither can our back.

So don’t just rush the set up. Focus on your hands outside your chest and that tension into the ground through your entire hand.

This intentionality in your set up and tension down into the ground will not only help you better activate your pecs and protect your upper body, but it will also set you up for success with tweak number 5 to improve the push back up to the top of the push up.

But you don’t want to only focus on your hands connection to the ground. You also want to pay attention to your feet.

Because efficiency in the tension you create from your head to your heels can help you more easily bust out those push ups.

That’s why #2 is to Drive Back Into Your Heels. 

When you set up and place your hands outside your chest, you want to focus on pushing backward through your heels off the balls of your feet.

This helps you flex your quads and better creates that tension all the way up your body so you aren’t overloading your chest, shoulders and triceps.

Too often we end up pushing forward off our toes, which creates more strain and resistance on our upper body, making our press less efficient.

By driving back through your heels, you don’t add more load to your upper body and you even help yourself avoid the hip sag we often see with push ups because our core isn’t braced properly.

So push down into the ground as if pushing it away with the balls of your feet as you drive back through your heels.

And be conscious as you push back up to keep pushing back through those heels.

But it’s not just our lower body we want to be focused on with what we consider to often be a chest, shoulders and triceps move…

Which brings me to the 3rd area you want to focus on…

Your back!

#3: Focus On Your Back. 

Often when we do push ups, our hands start to drift out in front of us instead of staying by our chest.

We also tend to shrug.

Daily postures can lead to this feeling more natural and “easier” with our push ups.

But this puts more strain on our shoulders and triceps and doesn’t allow us to use the strength of our chest optimally.

While it can “feel” easier it actually makes push ups harder.

It’s why we can struggle to have that power in our push ups.

To avoid this happening and protect even our neck, shoulders and elbows, we want to focus on engaging our back and even the movement of our shoulder blades as we press.

As you set up for the push up, shrug your shoulders and then pull them down hard as you set up with your hands outside your chest.

Pulling those shoulders down and locking them into place should make you feel along the sides of your back under your armpits engage.

This back engagement is key.

Even think wide chest as you set up.

Then as you lower down, you want to feel your back pull your shoulder blades toward your spine.

This engages your back and stretches your pecs to load them.

As you then push back up in the push up, you will feel your shoulder blades move apart.

But also as you press back up, you want to feel your back stay engaged to keep your shoulders from shrugging up by your ears.

All of this allows you to better optimize how you’re using your upper body to push.

And while it can feel harder to start as it is breaking what feels natural, it ultimately will allow you to use the power and strength of those bigger muscles more!

It is all about using what is meant to power the movement and using those muscles efficiently.

That’s why you also want to focus on tension in different muscles as different points.

What you focus on in your setup may change as you lower down and then especially as you move to push back up!

Ever notice you can lower back down but if you lower just a bit too far, you can’t push back up?

Finding this is holding you back from that full range of motion in your push up?

This transition and push back up, means changing what you’re focusing on to keep that clear tension throughout your body.

It’s why adjustment #4 is to Exhale And Squeeze Your Butt As You Push Back Up.

We are stronger in the eccentric portion of the push up, which is the lower down.

That’s why we can find the push back up is where we lose tension and struggle.

Often we may find our chin tucks or our hips sag and then our elbows want to really flare out.

By exhaling on that exertion to push back up, we can help yourselves create better core tension and avoid the sag to push back up as one unit.

And by squeezing our glutes we can avoid our butt wanting to push up first as well.

So when you hit what may feel like a stick point, exhale hard and squeeze your butt to control your form as you push back up.

And while the exhale and butt squeeze can help with maintaining that nice plank position, tweak number 5 can help you keep that nice upper body position and even help you continue to drive back into your heels to further reinforce that plank position.

Tweak #5 is to Push The Ground Away As You Drive Up. 

Too often we just think about trying to get back up to the top of the push up which is why our butt can go back first or we find our shoulders lift as we arch our back.

We lift up in pieces.

By creating that good core tension with the exhale and butt squeeze we can then drive back up with our body moving together by focusing on pushing the ground away with our hands.

It’s why setting up with that tension to start is so key.
When you push the ground away, focus on gripping it with every part of your hand. And even think about almost trying to pull your hands together to keep those thumbs down.

The push up involves horizontal adduction of your shoulders, which engages your chest more.

So almost pretending you would fly your arms together if the ground wasn’t in the way, can help you get more chest involvement to press up.

And often as we go to push up, we come forward on our toes, losing tension.

But by focusing on pushing the ground away, we can help ourselves push back into our heels.

This reinforces that core tension and helps us keep our back engaged to further promote us using the muscles of our upper body efficiently for a powerful push back up!

Bonus Tip:

And while all of these form adjustments are amazing, it can be hard to focus on doing them when we are using a push up variation we can’t yet control.

Especially the longer we’ve been compensating and our form has been off, the harder it can be to change what has become “natural.”

So as much as we want to do a harder variation of the push up, sometimes we do have to regress to progress to start and train these changes first.

While they will help you quickly improve your push ups, do not hesitate to even modify off an incline, or higher incline, to start to build up with proper engagement.

That little step back can launch you forward faster!

Improving your movements and even feeling stronger, is partly about that efficiency of movement.

Use these cues and form tweaks to help yourself rock those push ups by getting the correct muscles working together more efficiently!

Want to improve your push ups? Here’s an amazing 30 day workout plan to help!

–> 30-Day Push Up Challenge

The Best Push Up Exercise (You Aren’t Doing)

The Best Push Up Exercise (You Aren’t Doing)

No matter how much equipment I have available, I still love including a push up variation in my upper body workouts.

They are an amazing move to target your chest, shoulders, triceps and core.

And not only are they an amazing way to build strength and muscle, but there are so many push up variations you can include to target different muscles more or less based on your needs and goals.

Want to work on shoulder stability or anti-rotational core strength?

Try the push up with shoulder tap.

Want to target your triceps more?

Include a close grip variation.

Want to work your upper pecs extra?

Try a decline variation.

But in thinking through all the different options out there, there was one variation that came to mind as often being underutilized…

The push up plus!

In this video, I want to go over how to do this essential push up variation and ways to modify the move if you can’t do a push up from your toes on the ground. 

But first I want to explain why I think this variation is so important to include….

This push up isn’t the fanciest variation out there, but it is one of the most essential to include if you want to be a push up rockstar, improve your overhead press or bench press weights or even avoid neck, shoulder or upper back aches and pains.

It is so important to include because of that simple rounding and scapular protraction at the top of the push up.

This seemingly simple extra movement added on to the basic push up works an often overlooked muscle – the serratus anterior.

The serratus anterior is an essential muscle when it comes to keeping your shoulder blades, shoulders, neck and upper back healthy and happy and functioning correctly! 

And the push up plus is an amazing move to work this muscle as it is easier often to target this muscle without letting your upper traps compensate.

Too often our upper traps take over in movements meant to work our serratus anterior, which only perpetuates the aches and pains we have.

This scapular control, and serratus anterior strength, will also translate to better movement of your shoulder blades during overhead pressing and even a better ability to support your shoulders during bench press. 

This push up variation is a great way to keep everything healthy and strong as you include more pressing!

So how do you do the push up plus? 

While you will be performing almost just a basic push up, you want to give extra attention to the movement of your shoulder blades and even your hands pressure down into the ground.

Our hands are our foundation and better tension through them into the ground can increase muscle activation of our upper body. And by also being conscious of fully gripping the ground with our entire hand we can help avoid wrist, elbow and even shoulder aches and pains.

To do this push up, set up with your feet together and hands just outside your chest. Spread your fingers and flex your quads as you drive back through your heels.

You may even find it helpful to ever so slightly turn your hands out. This can even further help you engage your serratus anterior.

Then pull your shoulders down feeling them unshrug as you engage your back.

With your body in a nice straight line, lower down keeping tension.

Feel your shoulder blades draw toward your spine.

Then at the bottom, push the ground away and feel your shoulder blades move away from your spine.

As you reach the top of the push up, push the ground away a bit extra as if pulling your shoulders forward.

Feel your thoracic spine round up as you try to pull your shoulder blades around your ribs.

You may tuck your chin as you round up to go with the natural spinal flexion.

But do not let your butt go up in the air. You may slightly tilt your pelvis under instead to engage your abs more with the posterior pelvic tilt.

But you really want to focus on pulling your shoulder blades around your rib cage as you push that ground away.

This action really works that serratus anterior.

You’ll then move back into that full plank position and perform the push up again.

Working your press with the freedom to move your shoulder blades and be able to control that full range of motion is what makes this move so amazing for your upper body.

Not to mention you get that little extra core work with the pelvic tilt on top of the fact that the push up is a moving plank!

Now what if you can’t do a full push up from your toes? How can you modify this move?

An incline variation is always a great way to modify while allowing you to train that full push up plank position. 

Too often we do turn to knee push ups but this doesn’t teach us to properly engage our legs and drive back through our heels. It can keep us stuck getting stronger at only a modified variation.

It’s why that incline and working down in reps as you lower the incline is so key. 

You can use a rack, adjusting the barbell height or even boxes, lowering them down as you progress. 

If you are limited on incline options, you can select one that is a bit too high and slow down the tempo.

If you only have one that is too low, consider just the eccentric portion of the movement and start with the “plus” BEFORE you lower down for the rep. 

A final tip to modify if you need to work around wrist pain, is to put a mat folded up under the heel of your palm. This reduces the wrist extension demands to make it easier on your wrist. 

Bonus Tip:

And one bonus tip if you’re ready for a bit more of a challenge with this move and to test your core strength and stability, try including a dead stop or even hand release at the bottom.

This forces you to really engage prior to pressing back up and even makes sure you work through the fullest range of motion possible without using any momentum! 

That press back up from a dead stop is harder than we give it credit for, especially if we are super conscious that everything moves together as if our body were a solid board.

But even as you add in this dead stop or hand lift, don’t rush through the protraction at the top of the push up. Really focus on feeling around your rib cage even working!

So whether you’re looking to mix up your push up work, improve your upper body strength and stability to lift more while avoiding injury or just want to build up to that first full push up from your toes, this is an amazing push up variation to include in your workout routine!

And for more tips to improve your push ups, here are two videos to help!

10 Tips to Increase Your Push Ups (in 7 Minutes) 

Things No One Tells You About Push Ups 

Can’t Do Push Ups? Try These 5 Tips

Can’t Do Push Ups? Try These 5 Tips

You’ve been working at them and working at them…

But you just don’t feel like your push ups are progressing no matter how hard you try.

Yet you feel like you’re soooo close!

That’s why I wanted to share these 5 tips to help you adjust your workouts and push up work to finally get over that hurdle and bust out picture perfect push ups from your toes.

Because we don’t just want to do one beautiful push up…we want to look like a push up rockstar!

First, don’t just include push ups for only reps and sets – use intervals instead to work on your push ups! 

A big part of improving our push ups is our mind-body connection, not just our overall muscular strength.

Often we are strong enough already, we just aren’t able to fully recruit the correct muscles in the correct order to work together as efficiently as we need.

It’s why our hips sag as we focus on pushing back up or our elbows flare or we can’t engage our back to support our shoulders.

That’s why interval work over counting reps can help.

Intervals allow us to focus on what we feel working during each and every rep. 

Because we don’t have to care how many we do.

We are just working for that set amount of time. We also don’t get to be “done” any faster by rushing through the reps.

So having that set time frame to work allows us to focus on each rep.

AND it allows us often to do a higher volume of work with a harder variation over getting focused on doing more reps while using a more modified variation.

Often when we see 3 rounds of 8-12 reps listed, we modify the push up to do more reps each round.

But this often only helps us improve our strength endurance to do more reps of that modified variation.

Using intervals, if you know you have 1 minute to work, you can do a rep of the hardest variation, pause. Reset and do another rep of that same challenging variation. Pause again and repeat. You can then modify if you can’t keep the rest about 10-15 seconds between reps.

This allows you to create a great training volume while using that harder variation to build up!

And you can stay focused on what you feel working over just trying to get a certain amount of reps done!

Next, don’t be afraid to mix up the push up variations you use! Push ups can be their own best accessory exercise! 

Often if we can’t yet do a full push up, we don’t consider mixing things up.

But different grips and push up variations can help us target our weak links and strengthen them while also allowing us to get in more push up work.

So instead of just using the standard push up multiple times over the course of the week, vary up the types of push ups you include.

Try close grip to work those triceps more while requiring less scapular control.

Try shoulder tap push ups to work on that anti-rotational core strength and shoulder stability.

Mix up the variations you use, modifying them even to target those weak links while still working on your mind-body connection overall for push ups.

And don’t be afraid to also change up tempos and ways of modifying. If you always use an incline, try a band assisted push up instead!

Which brings me to tip #3….Try doing push ups but ONLY the lower down. 

Often using even just one single aspect of a movement can help us strengthen it.

And when it comes to our push ups, we can see great gains by just focusing on the eccentric portion of the movement, or the lower down, because we are actually stronger during that part.

This means we may be able to slow down the tempo and spend more time under tension while doing a more advanced push up variation than we would be able to if we had to press back up.

So if you’re feeling stuck on an incline or modified variation, try going to that next advanced step up and do only the lower down, focusing on a slow 5-6 count.

Once you lower all the way down, simply reset at the top, don’t try to push back up.

Complete even just 3-5 reps this way or even an interval of work.

But focus on what you feel working and everything engaging correctly as you just control the lower down of the most advanced version you can!

And then even include PAUSES in your push ups, especially in this variation. 

While you can pause at points in any push up variation you include to work on those points you tend to get stuck, it can be extra beneficial to include pauses during the eccentric only push ups at the very bottom.

Hold in that perfect plank an inch or so off the ground. Focus on engaging everything as hard as possible and even run through a checklist of what you feel working in your head.

Hold here for a 3-5 count then relax down and reset.

This ability to hold tension at the bottom of your push up will ultimately help you maintain tension to do the full press back up.

Often when we hit the bottom of the movement, we struggle to shift from lowering down to pushing the ground away to press back up.

This ability to maintain that plank position at the bottom is key.

It’s honestly often the missing component in our mind-body connection and where we lose tension, holding us back from full range of motion perfect push ups!

So try using that pause at the bottom. Although you can also implement pauses throughout the movement if you find there are other points you tend to fail.

Like if you get stuck when your elbows are bent to 90 degrees, try holding there too!

But don’t be afraid to included these pauses to create more time under tension and even give yourself the mental ability to focus on what you feel working without having the movement factor in!

Then stop just trying to do more reps in a row. 

Often to build strength, we do want to do one more rep with a weight.

One more rep of that challenging movement to create progression and build strength and muscle.

But when working to progress a SKILL, simply doing more volume of a more modified variation can keep us stuck.

Instead we want to focus on fewer reps in a row of a harder variation.

We can build up volume by resting even 15-20 seconds between 1-3 reps to get the 8-12 reps we want to complete.

But we can’t just shoot to keep trying to do 10 reps in a row.

Or we will end up continuing to need to use the modified variation and only continue to get stronger with the modification.

Often when we get focused on hitting a higher rep range for a move too, we rush through the rest. This doesn’t allow us to fully recovery and requires us often to modify even more over the rounds.

Instead, rest more and do fewer reps in a row!

Seek to use a variation you can only do a single rep of. If you can even do 2-3 reps, try something harder!

If you’ve been stuck, feeling like you’re just at that tipping point to be able to do a full push up, try implementing these 5 tips in your workout progression.

Use intervals over counting reps.

Use different push up variations.

Focus only on the lower down and even include pauses.

And then don’t be afraid to do single reps in a row, building up that volume over the interval of work!

Want amazing workouts to build full-body strength?

Join my Dynamic Strength Program!


Squat Challenge! What Happens When You Do 100 Squats a Day for 30 Days?

Squat Challenge! What Happens When You Do 100 Squats a Day for 30 Days?

I get the draw of these challenges.

They are simple and hard and often not too time consuming.

And something is always better than nothing to get us moving and motivated.


Honestly, these challenges are also what sabotage our long-term success and adherence to a workout routine.

They can even make us feel like we’re working super hard, staying super consistent, making ourselves super sore and not seeing results build as quickly as we would like.

They can lead to us feeling like we are finally getting back into a groove but them BAM! Always hit with an injury.

That’s why in this video I want to go over what results you can truly expect from these 30 day challenges – the good, the bad and the simply ugly…

So let’s break down these 30 day challenges and the results you’ll get over the weeks…

Starting with that first week…

In that first week, if you haven’t been doing anything in terms of training, and this is your motivation to get moving…

Be prepared to be VERY VERY SORE.

Did I say you’ll feel SORE?

Because you’re going to feel sore those first few days.

If you break up those first 100 reps over the day, you may deceive yourself into thinking it “wasn’t that bad,” but that volume will sneak up on you.

You’re going from 0 to 100 reps and doing a repetitive movement for a high volume of work. 

You’re also doing this movement daily so not giving yourself fully enough time to recover from the previous session.

So those first 4 days, you’re going to feel sore and even a bit beat down.

If you haven’t checked your squat form or are feeling a bit stiff and immobile from a lack of activity, you may also find your knees and hips and even lower back are extra achy. 

This may pass with movement or it may be the start of the end.

Too often we sabotage ourselves from getting in a routine by simply pushing too hard in that first week.

We need to rebuild slowly to make sure we’re doing moves correctly and using the correct muscles. 

Not to mention just because you can “do” a move and for that volume, like your muscles are strong enough, doesn’t mean your connective tissues, such as your ligaments, are truly ready for it.

It’s why doing too much too quickly leads to injury. 

Also if our form is off we overload joints and muscles also putting us at risk.

And squats, like a fundamental movement pattern are often blamed for knee pain because we don’t use them correctly! 

However, if we can stick it out for those first 4ish days, often we feel like we get stronger overnight.

While our muscles haven’t grown, our body starts to become familiar with the movement and we become more efficient at repeating it. 

It’s why toward the end of that first week we may feel like things got almost easier overnight.

While you are getting stronger by creating a challenge for your body, you haven’t really built muscle this quickly.

It is simply that mind-body connection first improving. 

We may also see some weight loss initially with the challenge.

You are moving more which can mean you’re now burning additional calories during the day.

But just like our body adapts to make the reps feel easier in that first week, our body adapts to be more efficient which means this deficit through added movement will be short lived.

If we don’t add on to our training, move more or change our nutrition, we won’t keep losing weight. 

In that second and third week, the weight loss benefits will stop as your body adapts.

And you’re going to start feeling more burned out from the daily repetitive movement and see yourself hit a point of diminishing returns.

You may feel more worn down. Weird places may hurt again. Despite you feeling just a little bit before like you are getting stronger, you may feel like you go backward.

You’re not giving yourself enough time to rest and recover from a high volume of the same move, over and over and over again. 

And as things hurt or feel sore, you’re going to start compensating.

Your form may break down more from fatigue and even from you starting to rush through just to get things done. 

Doing the same thing every day gets tedious and boring!

We start to just want to be done with it.

It isn’t the same fun mental challenge it once was.

So often this is where we stop. We go back to our previous workout practices and we end up feeling like nothing will ever be sustainable. 

Or we keep pushing through. Maybe finally at the end of week 3 our body starts to adapt and we do see those muscle gains if we’re fueling well.

But often we just start to see knee and hip aches and pains add up more and more. 

We also haven’t built up any other muscle groups. We haven’t worked our core or our upper body. 

And we have no plan in place to guide us.

We have no “exit strategy” from this challenge except to do another challenge. 

And at some point this pattern leads to burnout.

We never really create clear progression, a clear BUILD for ourselves with a road map to take us to the goals we want.

So what may have seemed like an “easy way” to get started ultimately is also what keeps us stuck!

Now maybe you’ve powered through to week 4. And honestly, that is freaking awesome. Most don’t make it past that 3 week hump. 

Injury. Boredom. Fatigue. Time. Some excuse gets most of us as we lose that initial motivation.

We’ve been doing the same thing day after day after day. 

And not only does that get tedious so we become less careful and conscious of our movements, not to mention we aren’t as intentional to maximize each rep, but often the challenge really isn’t there for our body any longer.

We won’t keep seeing muscle gains as we’ve adapted to the volume and load of squatting our own bodyweight.

So ultimately we NEED to do more or at least create progression through the same but different. 

And many of us reach the end of the 4 weeks with no plan. 

The same challenge of creating a program we faced at the start, we are now faced with.

The good part about having committed to the 30 days though is we’ve created a workout habit and gotten in a routine, prioritizing some time each day for us and taking care of our body with movement.

We’ve also hopefully built some muscle and even lost a bit of weight from the added activity. 

Because something is better than nothing when starting out.

But nothing keeps progressing if we don’t adapt as we grow stronger and fitter.

And if we are unlucky, this repetitive movement could have led to injury and overload. 

We went all in from the start over giving ourselves time to build that solid foundation and slowly build up.

We may see more aches and pains even adding up over the following weeks if we aren’t careful.

It also hasn’t prepped our body necessarily for other movements. 

We may still be starting out at ground zero when it comes to our upper body or even core training. 

We can’t skip building that foundation and these challenges don’t help us become well rounded.

They so often lead to us just doing too much too quickly over easing in.

Not to mention we may feel like the daily movement is unsustainable long-term but not be sure now how to design a schedule that actually fits our busy lifestyle.

And as simple as these challenges seem, they are deceptively inefficient at getting results. 

You could see better results from LESS volume and even less frequent sessions designed with the appropriate intensity and recovery.

You could have found something more sustainable!

And you could have even found something more FUN to do weekly that would have led to better results faster. 

Including a diversity of movements for your legs over the week would have targeted every aspect of your lower body and hit the muscles to different extents while moving you in every direction.

This could have created faster muscle gains, better recovery and all while avoiding injury and being fun.

By repeating that weekly routine for 3-4 weeks with a clear build to movements, you may have seen your results snowball faster while avoiding boredom that lead to you just rushing through the squats to get them done!

If you’re considering a challenge like the 100 squats a day for 30 days challenge, I urge you to seek out a clear plan that includes diversity and focuses on your entire body instead.

This will truly help you build that strong foundation. 

The more you rebuild safely, slowly and while addressing any mobility restrictions, the faster you will actually progress with less risk for injury.

So while something is better than nothing, and these simple challenges are tempting, find a plan laid out for you even if it is just 5 minute workouts to start back! 

Ready to have a plan in place to reach your goals? Check out my Dynamic Strength program!

10 Tips To Increase Your Push Ups (In 7 MINUTES)

10 Tips To Increase Your Push Ups (In 7 MINUTES)

Are push ups your arch nemesis? 

Do you struggle to do even one?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

In this video I’ll share 10 tips to help you improve your push ups fast and be able to perform them flawlessly by addressing the common form issues and weak links we all tend to have!

Tip #1 is Regress to progress.

Sometimes you have to take that step back to truly improve. 

Often we just keep trying a variation we haven’t earned yet and wonder why things aren’t progressing.

And it’s because we keep cheating or compensating to do a harder variation than we can control. 

This can not only lead to injury but often keep us stuck.

Proper form, using the correct muscles to power the movement, is what makes us efficient with an exercise. And this efficiency is what strength truly is. 

You can’t be efficient with a move you aren’t doing properly!

So if you’ve stalled, try modifying the move even just one step backward, off an incline instead of the ground, to refocus on what you feel working and make sure everything is engaging correctly in the correct order. 

Get the correct muscles working. While it stinks to step back, this can help propel you forward!

Tip #2: Run through a set up checklist.

How often do you do a move and simply…well…do it?!

We don’t consider how we are positioning each part of our body or run through what we need to engage and how it needs to be engaged to do the move. 

While we want this process of engagement to become natural, when first starting out is key we run through a checklist to make sure we have everything ready to work as it should!

So as you set up for the push up, run through a checklist of what you often struggle to engage to make sure you’ve set yourself up to move well from the start. Don’t just rush through hoping to mimic the movement. 

A great set up checklist for overall form may be…

#1: Set your hands outside your chest and spread your fingers to drive down hard into the ground. 

#2: Engage your back to unshrug your shoulders. 

#3: Brace your abs, even squeezing your glutes to do a slight posterior pelvic tilt.

#4: Drive back through your heels as you flex your quads. 

This sequence helps you make sure you’ve put yourself in a position to have the correct muscles engaged from the start of the movement.

Tip #3 is Drive back through your heels.

Often we think about the push up as an upper body or even a core move. But our lower body needs to be engaged correctly if we want to be efficient with the movement. 

If we push ourselves forward over driving back, we can actually overload our upper body more. 

And we can make it harder on ourselves for our body to move as one unit.

Instead, as you set up for the push up, drive back through your heels and feel your quads flex. 

This will help you maintain proper plank alignment as you lower down. 

It can help you avoid your butt going up in the air or shifting backward or forward. 

It can even help you avoid those hips sagging because of the tension you’ve already set up through your legs! 

Tip #4 is Set up at the bottom.

If you struggle with that press back up in a push up, it’s key you target that engagement from a dead stop. 

A great way to do this is to actually set up at the bottom of your push up, whether you’re using an incline or doing these off the ground. 

Just realize this is HARDER than lowering down because everything has to be fully engaged to press correctly BEFORE you even move. So don’t hesitate to modify starting out with this. 

But set up at the bottom of the push up, run through your checklist to make sure everything is engaged, take a big breath in and then focus on that solid push up to the top as you exhale. 

Too often we just work on moves top down, but that bottom up work can be so key especially if we do struggle with that transition from lowering down to pressing back up in a push up.

Tip #5 is Practice stick point holds.

Often there is a part of the push up we struggle with the most. 

It could be maintaining a straight plank position at the bottom or in that push about half way up… 

By using some push up holds in even our warm up activation work or as a burner to end our workout, we can build our strength endurance by HOLDING in these positions we struggle with. 

You can not only cycle through these positions in a single interval, pausing in a spot for 5-10 seconds, but you can also do single longer holds just setting up directly at your stick point! 

As you hold, run through how you feel everything working and your set up to really ingrain that positioning and recruit those muscles efficiently!

Tip #6 is Use a band.

While I love incline push ups to help build up, the more variations of a move we can include, the more we can help ourselves really learn to engage everything correctly. 

Sometimes with incline or knee push ups, we can feel like we are getting stronger, yet still be slightly stuck.

The band is a great way to reduce tension on your upper body but work through that full range of motion off the ground. 

It can also be a great way to increase your strength endurance if you’re stuck only able to do a few reps off the ground currently.

To do this, set up a band at about elbow height in a rig and position yourself in the push up with the band under your chest. 

You can set the band up higher if you do need more assistance or have a higher stick point. 

Then lower down performing the push up. As you get deeper in the lower down, the band will take away some of the load on your upper body and even add assistance as you push back up! 

Tip #7 is Focus on pushing the ground away.

If you think about just lifting your body up, this often leads to our butt going up or some other version of the worm happening.

We lose tension on our foundation and a focus on the true movement pattern we are performing.

If you think about a bench press, your focus is on pressing the weights up. 

You want that same focus in a push up to best activate your chest, shoulders and triceps.

With the push up, focus on pushing the ground away with your hands.

This can help you avoid your elbows flaring way up into a T shape with your body. 

And it can help you remember to focus on powering that press with your upper body!

That tension down into the ground will truly better activate your pecs, shoulders and triceps!

Tip #8 is Include activation work in your warm up for your BACK.

Proper scapular control makes for a more powerful press. 

If you want to protect your shoulders, neck and elbows as you work to improve your push ups, you want to make sure you include scapular mobility and activation work in your warm up routine. 

If we are able to properly move our shoulder blades, we are better able to use our chest effectively in the push up as well.

In your warm up consider even a scapular wall hold as part of your activation series. This will open up your chest and engage your back, pulling your shoulder blades toward your spine. 

It is a great way to make sure your back is ready to work and support those shoulders throughout the push up movement! 

(It’s also a great move to improve your posture if you’re doing extra pressing).

Tip #9 is Use cluster sets.

If you want to be able to do more push ups in a row, you have to do more push ups in a row to build up that strength endurance. 

Instead of modifying over rounds, consider designing your push up work as cluster sets.

Set a total number of reps for the round, say even the goal is 6. 

And break it down into sets of what you can do well, even if that is just 2. Do 2 reps and rest 15-30 seconds then do 2 more. Do this pattern, even performing singles if needed to hit 6 then rest for longer between rounds. 

This way you are still hitting your desired number of reps BUT in a way you can do each rep with the most challenging variation and proper form.

By resting for so short, you don’t let your body fully recover which can so to speak trick it into believing you’re able to do 6 in a row. You will see your strength endurance and push up reps increase quickly implementing this technique! 

Tip #10 is Include anti-extension core work.

The push up is basically a moving plank. 

And while planks are a great move to include, they can also get a bit boring, especially if you’re just doing the basic front plank. 

So if you want to mix up your core work in a way that will really help your push ups, consider other anti-extension core exercises as part of a finisher to your workout.

It may be simply including a bird dog version of that front plank or even a dead bug variation that helps. 

Anti-extension exercises are ones that make your abs work to avoid arching of your lower back, which will help you avoid your hips sagging in push ups!

You may even include an anti-extension move in your warm up to get your core ready to work and establish that mind-body connection prior to your push ups. 

Just make sure you’re not doing too much to fatigue it prior.

Remember, the key to success is consistency and practice. So, make sure to incorporate these tips into your workout routine and track your progress over time. 

–> More Push Up Tips – Use Your Back