By Matt Berni, A Game Sports Director of Strength & Conditioning

Pushups are one of the most beneficial exercises this world has to offer, and don’t even require any equipment. Yet, as simple as they are, many people cannot perform them correctly, and in turn, are putting themselves at risk for a potential shoulder injury.  Here are some coaching cues to help you:

  1. Assume the “up” pushup position on the ground. Your hands should be just outside shoulder width apart.
  2. Squeeze your butt as hard as you can.
  3. SET YOUR CORE. In other words, think of pushing your rib cage down to your belly button.
  4. ELBOWS IN. Imagine there were doorknobs under each of your hands. Try turning the right doorknob clockwise, and the left doorknob counter-clockwise.
  5. Lower yourself until the tip of your nose touches the ground. MAKE SURE you keep your elbows in close to your body. Your thumbs should be in line with the center of your chest.
  6. Once the tip of your nose touches the ground, push the ground away from you with your palms.

Now, the correct way of doing a pushup is much harder than the “elbows out” way. If you cannot do more than 4 correct pushups consecutively, you may want to regress the movement to the following:

Pushup to Box

You can adjust the height of the box or object you do pushups from according to how many you can do consecutively from that box/object.  My general rule of thumb is: more than 12, progress to a lower object.

Do not get discouraged if you can’t do a correct pushup. Start from a height you can perform 8 repetitions at, and progress from there. Make pushups part of your daily list of tasks!

Incorrect Pushup

Correct Pushup

Pushup to a Box (Regression)

By Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD

The winter is jam-packed with so many amazing things—holidays, snow days, ski trips and hot chocolate, to new a few. But what it doesn’t have is tons of daylight or time to get outdoors and move your body. Unfortunately, that means more time indoors on the couch with your favorite snacks. For many families, being trapped inside is a license to overeat and pack on the winter pounds. That doesn’t need to be the case! As we head into the holiday season, use these five Dietitian-approved tips to avoid stuffing your face with apple pie and eggnog.

Ask yourself if you would eat an apple
When you feel the urge to nosh, ask yourself if you’re hungry enough to eat an apple. If the answer is no, that’s a good sign that you may be eating for a reason other than hunger, like boredom or stress. If that’s the case, use your free time for a different activity, like family game night or picking up that hobby you meant to get to all summer long.

Have a holiday party plan
Winter weight gain tends to start with holiday parties. After all, it is tough to avoid the tiny appetizers, sugary cocktails and abundance of desserts. If you know you’ve got a holiday party that night (or your kids have one in school), plan out your healthy eating throughout the day. Snacking before a party will prevent you from showing up ravenous and loading your plate with tons of fried appetizers. Have a game plan for how many appetizers, drinks and desserts you will actually eat and stick to it!

EAT your meals!
It may sound crazy to eat in order to avoid eating, but there’s a method to this madness. Skipping meals always leads to overeating…always. Think about the last time you skipped a meal and how much you actually ate when you sat down for your next bite. I would guess that it’s much more that you typically eat. Not to mention that it’s difficult to make healthy choices when you are starving. Make a conscious effort to eat 3 meals per day with a snack or two thrown in there, and you are likely to make healthier food choices.

Hydration really does affect all aspects of life, from hunger to working out. Dehydration often masks itself as hunger, causing many people to overeat when they don’t actually need any extra calories. Keep a water bottle with you throughout the day and make sure it’s full at all times. The insulated ones are great at keeping water cold and tempting you to drink more often. You can also throw a piece of frozen fruit in the bottle to flavor the water. When you feel like you want to reach for food, ask yourself if it’s possible if you’re just thirsty instead?

Don’t keep junk food in the house
I can’t tell you the amount of parents who tell me that they keep cookies, candy and chips around the house for their kids. But they don’t want to eat them. Let me ask you this—if you don’t want to eat them, why should your kid? That’s not to say that you shouldn’t have an Oreo every once in a while, but keeping them around the house is setting yourself up for disaster. Force yourself to go out and brave the cold winter to get your favorite treat. The trek will make you less likely to indulge quite as often. And, of course, stock your kitchen with plenty of healthy snacks, like fruit, nuts and yogurts.