You’ve probably heard multiple times how important it is to keep your back straight during push-ups (and other exercises too) but it isn’t always as easy as you think.
For some people, straightening their back takes a lot of effort, focus, and thought.
In this article, we discuss why it’s important to keep your back straight during push-ups, why your back sometimes bends when doing them, and ways you can keep your back straight throughout the movement.
How To Keep Your Back Straight During Push-Ups
Start Your Push-Ups From The Ground
Usually, when someone is getting ready to do push-ups, they immediately get into the high plank position (the position you’re in at the highest point of a push-up).
While this makes sense as it’s the way you see almost everyone doing it, it doesn’t necessarily help you have a straight back.
If you start your push-up set with a bent back, the chances are you’ll keep your back bent throughout the set and it might even become more bent the more reps you do.
One way of giving yourself the best chance of starting your push-ups with a straight back is to start at the lowest point of the movement.
By doing this, you can lay on your front with your chest, abs, and thighs on the ground. As the ground will be a flat surface, you can feel what it’s like to have your back in a straight position.
Once you’re in the correct position with your back straight, you can push yourself up to the highest point of the exercise and your back should still be straight.
Lining your back up with the help of the floor is a great (and very simple) way of keeping your back straight during push-ups.
Use A Straight Line Guide
It might sound a bit silly but you could actually use something like a broom handle to help you keep your back straight during push-ups.
The key is to find something long and straight and rest it on your back as you do your push-ups.
By using something like a broom handle, you should be able to feel if part of your back is moving away from the guide or if you bend your back too much, the guide will fall off your back completely.
Resting something on your back during push-ups isn’t a long-term solution, but it can give you a great idea of what it feels like to have a straight back throughout the movement.
Once you know what it feels like, you should be in a better position to keep it straight without relying on a guide to help.
Use Your Core
Activating your core muscles prior to starting your push-ups can also help keep your back straight.
By thinking about tensing your abs, lats, glutes, and quads, your back is more likely to stay straight during push-ups as the right supporting muscles are activated and assisting as they should be.
Why Does Your Back Bend During Push-Ups?
Weak Core Muscles
If your core muscles are weak, you could very well notice your lower back dropping during your push-ups.
As your core muscles are unable to support your body as they need to, your lower back drops to alleviate some of the load placed on your core muscles.
Once your lower back drops, your push-up technique is wrong and your back is in a very vulnerable position.
Lifting Or Moving Your Head
Your head leads your body.
This makes sense as your eyes are on your head and most of us like to be able to see where we’re going and what’s in front of us.
If you lift your head, drop your head, or turn your head during push-ups, it’s highly likely that your body position will change which can easily result in a bent back and poor push-up technique.
Your nose should be pointing towards the floor throughout your push-ups to help keep your body in the correct position.
Why It’s Important To Keep Your Back Straight During Push-Ups
It Reduces The Risk Of Injury
A back injury is never a good thing.
As our back plays such an important role in pretty much all of our movements, even small back injuries can have big impacts on our daily lives as well as our training.
Keeping your back straight during push-ups helps keep it in the safest position possible to try and keep the risk of a back injury to a minimum.
It Makes Sure Your Body Is Working In The Right Way
If you have a bent back during push-ups, it will throw your technique way off and the wrong muscles and joints will be working to make the movement happen.
Relying on the wrong muscle groups and joints can easily lead to injury as a result of poor technique and weaker muscles having to do more work than they should.
I’ve been in the fitness and strength training industry for nearly a decade. In that time, I’ve gained 30 pounds of muscle, written hundreds of articles, and reviewed dozens of fitness supplements. As for my educational background, I’m a currently studying for my Active IQ Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training.