The Most Common Push-up Mistakes and How to Fix Them

Push-ups look deceivingly easy. In theory, everyone knows how to do them, but when asked to do one thing, most people make various small mistakes that can cause problems and injuries in the future. These subtle mistakes are common and easy to fix once you know about it.

It’s cool that some people can do these push-ups as if they were a jackhammer, but they will likely go down halfway through each rep. This is half the job. So even if you do 10 or 20 push-ups, chances are that you were cheating somewhere.

There is not enough tension in your body

We’ve written extensively about what a good push-up looks like, but this video from the Calisthenic Movement is a good reminder. There is a lot of detail here, but the main takeaways are that the back of the head, upper back and buttocks are usually in line or in a “neutral” position; keep your knees straight. In general, your body ideally forms a relatively straight line, like on a board.

If you let your hips sag, you end up doing strange things with your lower back and shoulders to help you avoid push-ups. It also means that you are not using your core muscles as much as you should. After all, it is your core that helps you maintain this solidity throughout. To engage your core, consider actively contracting your abdominals and squeezing your glutes to maintain tension throughout your body. If you find it difficult to maintain this tension throughout the movement, practice push-ups with lighter variations, such as knee push-ups.

You prioritize quantity over quality

In correct upward push, you should always walk with full range of motion. Not everyone has shoulder or wrist health to nose down to the ground. If you can, lower yourself down and try to keep your chest almost touching the floor, then exhale forcefully as you rise again. This means you have to work a little harder to do push-ups, but that’s the point!

When you are at the top, imagine yourself “pushing the floor” and reaching out to reach with your shoulders (not letting your back just round out). You should inhale around this time to visualize drawing air into your upper back. We talk a lot about the benefits of push-ups for strength, but it’s important. Basically, it teaches you to use the often neglected muscles that help your posture.

After all that, you’ve just done one nice push-up. Repeat this for others and you will be golden. Be sure to do them slowly and evenly to get the most out of your push-ups. Remember, it’s not about how many push-ups you can do in total, but how much you can do well.

You ignore the position of the elbow

The first thing most people do when they are in a push-up position is to spread their elbows straight out to the sides. So when someone looks at them from above, they look like a T. This is a big ban because when you inflate your elbows like this, you end up training your chest and triceps less and also putting a lot more stress on your shoulders .

Mike Robertson , strength and performance coach and owner of Robertson Training Systems, noted that ideally your elbows should be at a 35 or 45 degree angle to your body. This simple change immediately gives you better leverage to create more pushing force and work more muscles with less stress on your joints. There is no need for a protractor. A quick fix is ​​to keep your elbows above your wrists and focus on forming the arrow with your body: your body and legs form a straight line, and your arms form the sides of the arrow.

You don’t mind your hands

The place where you place your hands on the floor matters as much as anything else in preparation for the push-up.

For most people, the biggest mistake they make is their hands pointing at each other. The position of the arms changes the position of the elbows, causing them to swell more, and also affects the muscles that you are working on. Hold your fingers forward and imagine you are “pushing the floor.” This will keep your elbows close to your sides.

Other times, your hands may be too close together. The closer your arms are to each other, the more you will train your triceps and not your chest muscles. If that’s the intention, then cool; but if you want to do a standard push-up, you need to spread your arms a little further apart, a little further than shoulder-width apart.

If you’re looking at this list and think you’ve got the perfect push-ups , check out these advanced push-up variations .


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