Jack Hanrahan

How to Do Push-ups Perfectly

How to Do Push-ups Perfectly

First – Five ways you’re doing push ups wrong

Most of us are doing a lot of push-ups now, which is awesome because it’s one of the best-bang-for-your-buck exercises. But, most of us are doing them incorrectly in at least one way or another and even advanced lifters tend to screw this exercise up. I want to show you five common push-up mistakes and show you exactly how to perform a push-up the right way, so you get the most out of this valuable exercise.

Push-up Mistake #1

Leading with the head rather than the chest.

How to do push-ups - mistake #1

Push-up Mistake #2

Elbows flared out to the sides rather than back to the sides.

How not to do pushups - mistake #2

Push-up Mistake #3

Broken reps. Also called “The Pornstar.”

Common push-up mistake #3

Push-up Mistake #4

No core engagement. Low back arched. This places loads of strain through the low back and screws up form completely.

What not to do when doing push-ups #4

Push-up Mistake #5

Not completing the rep. Your shoulder blades should wrap around the rib cage at the end.

How to do push-ups - mistake #5

How you should be doing push-ups

The Set Up

  • Start on all fours – knees under hips and wrists under shoulders.
  • Take your hands slightly wider because you’ll want a bit more width.
  • Extend the legs back you, tuck the tailbone, squeeze the glutes and brace the abs – maintain tension through the body to keep the spine rigid and stable.
  • ‘Pack’ the shoulder blades (shoulders away from ears) and twist the elbow pits so they’re facing forward (shoulder external rotation).
  • Finally, keep the chin tucked.

The Lowering

  • Think like you’re doing a row: pull your body down, leading with the chest.

The Push back up

  • Press strongly through your wrists into the floor as if driving the Earth away from you, until the shoulder blades wrap around the rib cage.

Rinse & Repeat.


More Notes to help you improve your push up form:

That initial setup is key: it will make sure you feel it in all the right places and avoid all those typical compensations.

Another thing when you’re doing push-ups: go slow on the way down and take a slight pause before you press up. This will increase tension and (again) perfect your technique.

Here’s my #PushUpChallenge to you: now that you know the proper form, see what it’s like to do 10 perfect reps where we go down nice and slow for 2-3 seconds, pause, and drive up. I guarantee push-ups are not going to feel the same when you do it like this.

Once you perfect the push-up form, check out the below video to see my favourite 10 push-up variations to push you to the next level (pun intended).  

Hope this tutorial was helpful. If it was, drop a comment below and thanks for reading!

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