How to do Push-Ups

How to do Push-Ups

In this lesson you will learn how to do proper push-ups. The push-up is a one of the most popular body weight strength exercises for the upper body and emphasizes on the chest muscles (pectorals). However, the push-up also works your shoulder muscles your triceps and your core area (abdominals). The good thing about push-ups is, that you don't need any weight training equipment and therefore can do them anywhere and at any time. Find more chest exercises at weight training main.


  • Put your hands on the floor and extend your arms. The fingers point straight forward. Distance between hands: Between 1,5 and 2 shoulder widths. (perfect distance = one shoulder width + 1 upper arm length). Your elbows should point back slightly. Always keep your core area tight when you do push-ups. Don't hollow your back, don't let your hips hang. Keep your legs closed and straighten your knees. If you can't even do one repetition, you can also do your push-ups with your legs bent and the knees on the floor. Keep your shoulders high during the entire exercise. Don't shrug your shoulders forward at the highest point of the push-up.
  • Lower your chest to the floor and inhale slowly. Don't forget to keep your abs tight. Touching the floor with the knees or the hips first is wrong technique. When viewed from the side, the elbows should be slightly behind the shoulders. When you lower your chest, your elbows move back and a little to the sides. At the lowest position your hands should be next to your chest, not next to your head or your neck.
  • Then push yourself up again and exhale at the same time. Don't shrug your shoulders down when you reach the highest point.


  • Keep your abs contracted during the entire exercise and don't let your hips hang.
  • Don't shrug your shoulders down when you reach the highest point of the push-up.
  • If you want to do a chest workout, but don't have enough time to go to a gym, I recommend push-ups instead of the barbell bench press and butterflies.
  • Stretch your chest muscles between sets and exercises.
  • Tricks to make your push-ups more intensive:
    • Push your hands towards each other on the floor (isometrically). Because of your body weight your hands will not move at all, but the attempt will lead to an isometric contraction.
    • Plant your hands on books or on 2 bricks, so that you can lower your chest deeper.
    • Hold the lowest position for one breath before you push yourself up again.
    • Try backpack push-ups (with a heavy backpack).
  • There are many different push up variations. Below you will find some of the most popular ones:
    • Plyometric Push-Ups: For example when you jump on your hands or when you do incline plyo push-ups on a stomach-high bar. Plyometrics = Reactive Strength.
    • Isometric Push-Ups: That's then you hold you push-up isometrically (no motion is involved)
    • Kneeling Push-Ups: Bend you legs and put your knees on the floor. The kneeling push-ups is for beginners who cannot yet do one push-up.
    • Incline Push-Ups: Another variation that's easier than normal push-ups on the floor. Put your hands on a bench, a box or a wall.
    • Sissel Ball Push-Ups: When you do push-ups with your hands or your feet on a sissel ball.
    • One-Arm Push-Ups