Top of the Minute! Exercise 1

(Each month we post a workout – one exercise per week for four weeks, culminating in the entire workout together)

The push-up is one of the best upper body and core exercises, can be done without equipment and is a great example of a functional exercise with benefits that cross over into sports as well as daily activities. Done correctly the push-up will strengthen chest, triceps, shoulders, anterior and posterior “anti-extension” core muscles (front and back), with some glute and quad engagement as well. Unlike traditional horizontal pushing exercises such as bench press or dumbbell bench press, push-ups allow the scapula to glide freely as it was intended to do. And, because push-ups are a closed chain exercise (hands are fixed to the ground), they are considered safer for the shoulders. In addition, the level of push-up difficulty can be scaled up to a very high level (resisted or explosive), and scaled down to allow a beginner or those with injuries to participate as well (knee or elevated push-up).

For those of you with wrist issues, try placing your hands on dumbbells. This changes the position of your wrist, which reduces the pressure on that joint.  If you aren’t doing them already, add push-ups to your workout today!


  1. Place your hands firmly on the ground, directly under shoulders
  2. Dig your toes into the floor to stabilize your lower body.
  3. Tighten your core, engage glutes and hamstrings, flatten your back so your entire body is straight, and tuck your chin in as if to create a double chin to create a neutral neck position.
  4. Lower your body while keeping your back flat and a neutral neck until your chest touches the floor. Don’t let your hips drop or your butt stick out at any point during the move; your body should remain in a straight line from head to toe.
  5. Draw shoulder blades back and down, and keep elbows tucked close to your body to protect the shoulders.
  6. Push back up, pause at the top and repeat!

**Push-ups may be progressed by adding resistance or doing them explosively, and can be regressed by doing them on the knees or elevating the hands on a bench

Coaching cues:
  • Hands under shoulders
  • Tighten Core
  • Engage glutes
  • Neutral Spine
  • Touch the floor!
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