Knowing how to do a push-up is key for getting the most out of your home workouts.
There are many different types of push-ups and push-up variations you can choose.
Adding push-ups to your workout will help you build upper body and core strength.
In this push-up guide you’ll learn how to do a proper push-up, common push-up mistakes, and the best push-up variations to add to your workout!
But first, what are push-ups?
What are push-ups?
Push-ups are an exercise where you use the arms to lift and lower the body from the floor in a plank position. Push-ups are a simple and effective way to strengthen your back, arms, shoulders, and core.
Now that you know what they are, let’s dig into how to do them right!
How to do a push-up in 3 easy steps
1. Start in plank position
Start with your hands slightly wider than your shoulders. Extend your legs and create a straight line from the crown of your head to your heels.
2. Bend your elbows and lower your chest to the floor
Engage your core and keep your back long as you bend your elbows to lower your chest.
3. Push your hands into the floor and straighten your arms
Keep your core tight, exhale, and push the floor away as you come back to the starting position. Repeat until your push-up workout is complete.
How many push-ups should I do?
The number of push-ups you do depends on your level of fitness.
Try starting with 10-20 push-ups and work your way up.
Taking breaks in between is perfectly fine! For example, you can break this up by doing 2-4 sets of 5 reps or 2 sets of 10 reps.
Hot tip: use a push-up counter app to track your push-ups to help you achieve your fitness goals.
Great, your push-up practice is coming together nicely! But there are a few mistakes you need to avoid to get the most from your movements...
Common push-up mistakes
Here are three common mistakes you need to avoid while doing push-ups.
1. Letting your head drop
Keep your head from dropping lower than your back.
Make sure your eyes are looking slightly forward, about a foot in front of your hands.
This will help lengthen your neck and keep your head from dropping down to the ground.
If the head goes down, but your arms barely bend, you may feel lower to the ground, but this only puts tension on your neck and shoulders.
If you’re struggling to keep your head up, try a <push-up variation> and work up to doing a full push-up.
2. Too much pressure in your wrists
Make sure your hands are spreading into the floor and that your elbows aren’t locked. Your elbow creases should face in towards each other (think Bulldog arms).
Try pushing your hands downwards and towards each other on the way down, and pushing the hands down and out on the way up from your push-up. This should help engage your back and core and take the pressure off your wrists.
If wrist pain is bothering you, stretch your wrists and hands before and after performing your push-ups.
3. Not breathing
Breathing is key for doing push-ups correctly.
Inhale on the way down and keep your spine long.
Exhale as you push your hands into the ground and press up.
This will help you engage your core to lift your spine away from the floor, while maintaining a straight back.
Push-up types: 4 basic variations
Here are some useful push-up variations for beginners or push-up pros looking for a more challenging workout.
Here are the four most common push-up variations:
1. Half push-up
- Start in a plank position and bend your knees so they’re rooted to the ground.
- Create a straight line from your ears to your shoulders and down to your knees.
- Your knees should be behind your pelvis.
- Perform the same 3 steps you learned above.
This is a great variation for beginners, people recovering from any shoulder injuries, or if you’re experiencing wrist pain.
2. Elevated push-up
- Place your hands on an elevated surface: this could be a sturdy coffee table or chair. You can even do it against the wall.
- Anchor your hands under your shoulder.
- Extend your legs and the angle most comfortable to you.
- Perform the same 3 steps you learned above.
For a more advanced variation of the elevated push-up, keep your hands on the floor and place your feet on an elevated surface and perform your push-up.
- Instead of out, bend your elbows straight back.
- Keep your arms and elbows close to your sides.
- Center your chest between your arms.
- Push-up keeping your arms close to your body.
This variation is also called a Military push-up and focuses more on strengthening your triceps.
4. Single-leg push-up
For a more advanced variation.
- Start in a plank position.
- Lift one leg straight out behind you.
- Keep the leg extended and lifted as you perform your push-up.
- Repeat the same number of reps on the other leg.
This variation is great for working your balance and core strength.
All of these push-up variations are worth exploring in your push-up practice. Try new push-up types to keep your home workouts exciting and fresh.
There’s many benefits of doing regular pushups.
Push-ups will help strengthen your core, shoulders, and arms. Having a stronger upper body and core helps improve posture, mobility and overall well-being.
Plus, push-ups are simple, fast, and effective. They don’t require equipment, or a lot of space. Add them to any workout and enjoy all the benefits they have to offer.
Power-up your workouts with push-ups
Doing a proper push-up is a great way to move and strengthen your upper body!
Push-ups variations will help you round out any workout.
Remember, quality over quantity! It’s better to do 10-20 push-ups with proper push-up form than 50 with poor form.
Keeping track of your progress is essential for getting the most out of your push-ups. Use fitness counter to help you stay on track, set and meet goals, and motivate yourself to make movement a healthy habit.
Once you’re done with your upper body, target your lower body, with the guide.