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How To: Push-Up

3 Golden Rules (Made Better!)

Posted by Scott_Herman - March 28th, 2018

Today we’re going to talk about the perfect push-up. When I circle back and create these how to articles, I want to make sure I’m always adding VALUE or ways to improve the efficiency of every movement. So moving forward, if you see any of these how to articles in the future, expect a quick explanation as well as tips to make the exercise better for overall muscle and strength building.

Golden Rule #1: Perform Full Range Of Motion

Full range of motion (ROM) with this movement includes two things. Number one is that your chest is touching the floor on every single repetition, while keeping your torso in a straight line. You might be able to perform more reps with a BANANA BODY, but that not only looks ridiculous, it also shortens the range of motion because it is essentially cheating.

Number two is that you need to extend fully at the top of the movement, which means your arms are locked out and you push through the shoulders. In other words, make sure you achieve shoulder protraction for every repetition.

Golden Rule #2: Keep Your Elbows Tucked In

Some people might argue that your elbows do not need to rub against your sides, and that a 45 degree angle is fine. Well, that is correct to a degree, but a 100% correct push-up is performed with your elbows rubbing against your body, which will maximize the engagement of the triceps and take the shoulders out of the equation.

If your shoulders hurt during push-ups, this is most likely why, because your elbows are flared out. Some of you may be a bit stronger with your elbows flared out initially, but that’s because you have weak triceps. Once you learn how to properly execute the exercise, your triceps will become much more powerful, and you’ll become much more efficient at doing push-ups.

Golden Rule #3: You Have To PROGRESS With The Movement

Most people think that as soon as they’re able to do 20-30 push-ups, that the bench press is the logical progression. However, that’s not always the case, especially if you’re training from home. You can still challenge yourself with different variations of the push-up. Some of my favorite variations are…

Weighted Push-Ups

This is where you stack weights on your back before starting your repetitions.

Incline Push-Ups

This is where your feet are elevated on a bench or chair, and your hands are on the ground.

Diamond Push-Ups

These can be a bit more tricep dominant, but if you’ve never tried them with your feet elevated and your hands on a medicine ball, you are in for a whole new world of HURT!

Clapping Push-Ups

This is another great example of how you can take a simple movement and make it more intense.

Side-To-Side Push-Ups

Lastly, and possibly my favorite variation of all, explosive side-to-side push-ups. Just grab something for a bit of elevation, and start explosively jumping from side-to-side until you can’t possibly do any more.


One more crucial tip – it should go without saying that you should be tensing your core while performing push-ups. The next time you need to drop and do some push-ups, try tensing your entire body. If you do it right now, and get down on the floor and tense everything from your toes to your hands on every single repetition, and you will soon start to realise the power of mind-muscle connection, even on a simple bodyweight movement like this one.

Related Videos:

How To: Lat Pulldown | 3 GOLDEN RULES

How To: Dumbbell Bench Press | 3 GOLDEN RULES

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