The Correct Push Up Form

A push up can best be described as a classic muscle building technique that helps tone the upper body. It is one of the simplest yet very effective upper body exercises. It is responsible for activating a variety of muscles including the triceps, deltoids, pectoral muscles and core muscles. With just one compound movement, you get to exercise many muscle groups (see here).

There are two questions I get asked more than any as a personal trainer. First, clients ask me about supplements every single day (I refer them to, Examine, and Supplement Science). The second is about proper form when doing exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, and squats.


To get maximum results, it is vital that you learn the proper form. A proper push-up is actually quite easy. You start by placing your hands beneath your shoulders. Your legs ought to stand straight out behind you, so that the balls of your feet will be on the ground.

  1. Tighten Your Core

Then you need to keep your butt squeezed and your core tight while you lower down your body till your chest touches the ground. Afterwards, you ensure that your body is at a straight line while you push away from the ground and revert back to your original position.

  1. Common Mistakes

While this form of exercise is a fairly easy movement, there are some common mistakes that you will want to steer clear of. One of this common mistakes is piking. This is whereby you raise your butt above your body into position that resembles a pike. While this may help relieve some pressure of your core, you will not be reaping the full benefits of your push-ups.

Here’s a bad example from


Dropping your stomach, another common mistake is widely frowned upon. This is because by dropping your stomach, you will be exposing your lower back to complications. Keep your core engaged and your stomach tight while doing push-ups if you want to protect your lower back.

There is a common misconception that not touching the ground is an acceptable form of doing push-ups. All it does is minimize results. If you want to maximize the results, do the push-up all the way to its full range of motion. Lower yourself all the way to the ground and then raise yourself back to your starting position.

  1. Pushup Variations

There are a number of variations of push-ups that you can focus on if you want to get better results. One of this variations is the wide-arm push-up. This form is identical to the general push-up form except for the position of the arms. Your hands should be placed at a width longer than your shoulder width with your feet behind you. This form is aimed at increasing your triceps and pectoral muscle mass. If you need some inspiration, check out this list on Men’s Fitness.

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