Ah, the humble push-up. Not much to it, right? Wrong. The push-up is an exercise people get wrong more often than you think. In today’s form academy, we will show you how to spot the most common form errors and how to build a better push-up.
You’re doing it wrong
We see two very common mistakes people make when doing push-ups. The first is that they allow their hips to sag towards the ground, which strains the lower back. The second is that they let their shoulders to come up too high, a positioning error that leads to improper muscle activation; relying too much on your shoulders robs your chest of a workout.
Building to a perfect push-up
While some form errors can be corrected simply by being more mindful of your positioning, others are due to muscle weaknesses or imbalances, which requires a more progression-oriented approach.
If you have trouble performing push-ups with good form even after correcting your positioning, take a step back and try the following exercises to progress into full push-ups.
Step 1: Push-ups on bar
Perform your push-ups on a bar elevated from the floor. The increased angle means that more of your weight will be in your toes, leaving less for your arms and chest to move. As you get stronger, you can move the bar further down for an additional challenge.
Step 2: Push up on knees, progressing to toes
A lot of people refer to this exercise as “girl push-ups,” which is a complete misnomer but has had the unfortunate effect of scaring people away from them. But remember: doing push-ups correctly from your knees is both safer and more effective than doing them incorrectly on your toes.
Thank you to our model Charles! He’s a real trooper doing all those push-ups after working out with Carlos for a full hour first!