Push Ups Proper Form: Train As Much Muscle As Possible!
In the following blog post you are going to learn what push ups proper form actually is for stimulating as much muscle as possible while avoiding shoulder, elbow and wrist pain.
Push-ups are a fantastic bodyweight exercise for training:
- The Chest (Pec-Major)
- The back of the arm (Triceps)
- Core (Muscles of the midsection)
There are multiple variations and different types of push up. My recommendation for beginners is to progress from the adapted push up (from the knees) up to the full push up, and eventually progress onto the king of all push ups, the narrow base push up.
For demo purposes and showing you the correct form of a push up we will focus our attention on the full bodyweight push up. Most of the teaching points you will learn can be easily transferred onto other variations later on.
By the end of this blog post you will understand the fundamentals of the correct push up form so you can start using this great exercises in your own training program to build strength.
Step By Step: Push Ups Proper Form
How To Do A Full Push Up
- Setting Up The Hands & Foot Position
You will want to lie facedown on the floor. Your foot position can be together or even shoulder width for a little more stability. Your hand position should be just outside your nipple line.
- Brace Your Core Like You Are Doing A Plank
You will want to brace your core as if you are doing a plank. The typical set of push-ups might last 40-70 seconds depending on your strength level. You should aim to build up to this time frame on plank before starting into your push up journey.
- Push Your Self Up From The Bottom
I often coach my clients to start their push up from the floor as opposed to starting the rep dropping down into their first push up.
This gives them more time to get into a good position and really focus on keeping a neutral spine. You need to really concentrate on not allowing your “back to sag”. Avoid an excessive arch in your lower back. This will require a combination of strength and concentration.
- Perform a full range of motion
One of the main benefits of doing a push up to train your chest and triceps as opposed to the traditional bench press exercise is that your shoulder blades are free to move.
Usually, on a bench press, they are trapped between your body weight and the bench seat.
Having the freedom to move retract and protract your shoulder blades on a push-up should be encouraged.
This will allow a beginner to build some strength and control of various stability muscles in their shoulder that will be needed as they progress through other exercises later on.
Make sure you are going all the way down to the floor with your chest when you return to the start position. To increase the range of motion and ease pressure on the wrist I often recommend purchasing a push-up handle.
What Is The Correct Push Ups Proper Form To Avoid Injury
3 Of the most common mistakes beginners make when doing push ups are as follows:
- Hand Position: Keep your hands in around your nipple line as opposed to right up at the shoulders. You should always aim to be in an arrow formation as opposed to looking like the letter ‘T’.
- Elbow Pain: Don’t internally rotate your hands as it will put excessive shear force on the elbow causing pain.
- Wrist Pain: If you experience wrist pain while doing push-ups make sure you are in the ‘Arrow’ position as opposed to the ‘T’ position as mentioned above. Alternatively, you can use a pair of push up handles which help alleviate wrist pain when doing the push up.