Pushups are a great form of exercise for the whole body – when done correctly. Unfortunately very few people actually do them correctly. It may be they lack the upper body strength and collapse through the shoulders, or they lack the core control and collapse through the head/spine/pelvis. Or both!
However that doesn’t mean we should abandon pushups as a go-to exercise, as they can be done anywhere and a great all-round strengthener. We just need to build up to doing them properly. A good place to start is by doing a pushup against the wall, where the body’s relationship to gravity is not very challenging. This is the place to build core control (often a physical understanding rather than a strength issue) and to build some upper body strength if that is lacking.
In the video below I show how to do a good pushup against the wall, and also show what can go wrong. I strongly suggest filming yourself (I just use Photobooth on my laptop) or getting someone to film you using the video setting on your mobile phone camera. It’s very hard to feel it if you are not holding yourself correctly – seeing yourself is crucial to ensuring you get it right.