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How to Do the Perfect Push Up

Push-ups are wonderful exercises for developing upper body strength as well as for muscle-building. Since the resistance used is the person’s own body weight, they are also used to build stamina. The basic push-up starts on the floor and uses the arms to lift the body making sure the hands are placed palm down. There are many variations of the basic push-up but they all work out the arms, shoulders, chest and abdominal areas. Unfortunately, if they are done incorrectly they can cause problems. Push-ups performed improperly risk damaging shoulders, wrists, and backs. However, it is relatively easy to understand the correct way to do a push-up and to get the most from a work-out while avoiding injury.

Keep the Body Level

Some common errors people make when doing push-ups are lifting the buttocks too high, arching the lower back, and letting the head drop. The best form and the best way to avoid injury is to keep the body straight. To make an adjustment, make sure the hips are level with the torso and head.

Elbows at 45 Degree Angles

A proper push-up has elbows at a 45-degree angle in relation to the body. Many people make the mistake of pushing their elbows out beyond this, and not getting the full benefit of the movement. Palms should be down and placed about the distance of the shoulders.

Keep Abdominals Clenched

The abdominal muscles are also getting a good work-out during a push-up and it’s important to have them tightly clenched. Having them tight will help keep the body straight and level. This is especially important to avoid overarching the lower back which causes stress to the back.


If any pain is felt during the performance of push-ups, stop. Pain may be an indicating of a pulled or torn muscle.

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