Call it a symptom of the Midnights album release or the All Too Well short film, but lately, I’ve decided there’s no emotional landscape that can’t be enriched by Taylor Swift. (What is it they say on Twitter? “My opinions are my own.”) Just like Swift benefits every airwave, Spotify playlist, and concert venue she enters, trainers say that there’s not a workout out there that can’t be improved by a classic push-up. And soon you’ll know why “all too well.”
“Push-ups are an effective bodyweight exercise,” says Tatiana Lampa, a trainer and corrective exercise specialist. “It’s a true test of how much of your weight you can you push from the ground with good form. It’s also a great way to get your heart rate up.”
Truly a full-body workout, push-ups target your chest, triceps, shoulders, and core for a complete movement pattern that’s—let’s face it—about as challenging as they come. Below, Lampa breaks down how to do a push-up step-by-step. Sadly, there’s no accompanying short film featuring Sadie Sink and Dylan O’Brien, but we did include a push-up demo courtesy of Well+Good’s YouTube series The Right Way. And hey, that’s something?
How to do a push-up: the most effective fitness move, according to trainers
1. Start in a plank position with your shoulders directly over your wrists and your middle fingers pointing straight forward. Your hands should be about mat-width apart, so make sure they’re not too narrow.
2. Keeping a straight line from your head to your heels, lower straight down to the ground, but don’t touch it. Let your chest hover an inch or so above your mat, then push back up into plank. Tuck in your elbows for a tricep push-up or keep your elbows out slightly away from your torso for normal push-ups.
To make the workout easier: Place your knees on the floor and keep your ribs tucked in as you’re lowering down to the ground. Or, alternatively, you can place your feet on a stable surface (like a chair or table) and complete your push-ups from there.
To make the workout harder: Lampa recommends trying a hand-release push-up. When you lower to the ground, touch your entire body down and release your hands. Place your hands on the floor and push back up, keeping your core engaged as you do so.