September fitness challenge

Woman on a beach doing a push up with one leg extended behind her.

For people who are new to Pilates, the push-up always comes as a shock. They cannot believe that the Pilates programme includes push-ups?  Seriously; the looks on their faces as I announce pushups as the upcoming exercise. To be fair, a lot of first time Pilates attendees think they will be lying on the floor stretching. Joseph Pilates obviously knew that the push up is the king of body weight exercises. Control? Tick. Form? Tick. Upper body strength? Tick. Abdominal connection? Absolutely tick.

Never fear, I often give complete beginners the modified version with knees on the floor and others ways that will help them to understand the form and build the strength to do get the benefits from this exercise.  But still, a lot of us have a lot of work to do to truly “honour” this king of exercises.

How many push-ups can you do in 2 minutes?

How push-ups go wrong

Runaway hands

Hands are in line with the head or even further along the floor, making the movement a potential source of injury. FIX THIS: line your wrists up directly under your shoulders.

The meander

Weak upper bodies (arms and chest muscles) result in the bottom and entire body moving backwards as the client moves their upper body forwards towards the floor in the all fours push-up. FIX THIS: don’t aim for the chest to come all the way to the floor, just focus on bending the elbows a little and push the floor away from you to lift straight back up.

The hip sink

Weaker upper bodies and arms sometimes result in the client just lowering their hips and pelvis (waist band on your leggings or shorts) towards the floor whilst performing the plank version of the push-up. FIX THIS: bend your elbows.

Bottoms up

Bottoms literally sticking up in the air when a client looks to do a plank push-up. FIX THIS: bring your chest forward through your arms, this will bring your bottom down and take you from looking like a hump-back bridge, to a plank position.

If any of these fixes are too hard for you, take a step back and go to the previous (less advanced) version of the push-up. That way you can build up your strength and improve your form, then increase the challenge with a slightly harder push up next time. Alternatively, don’t work on them on your own. Come join me in class and we’ll improve your push-ups together.[link]

Whichever version you are working with right now, why not, take out your mat and the timer on your phone and see how many you can do in 2 minutes.

I’ll let you know how many I did in next month’s newsletter.

Best wishes,


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