You learned how to do push-ups in gym class when you were six, and you probably kept doing them. It makes sense. They are arguably the easiest and most efficient way to give your arms and chest a quick workout anytime you find yourself with seven square feet of space.

So you probably know how to do a perfect push-up, right?

Wrong.

A lot of people have gotten slack with their form, which not only can result in an efficient workout regimen, but also long term damage to their back, shoulders, and chest.

Sure, it may make it easier, but is it better to do 100 shitty push ups as opposed to 50 real ones? If your muscles could talk, they would tell you to correct your form and do however many you could. Numbers don’t make you stronger. Form does.

So, how about we all take a step back and learn how to do proper push ups?

This is how to do a perfect push-up.

Keep Your Butt Down

The whole crux of this exercise comes from maintaining a plank form and using your arms and chest as a means of leveraging that off the ground. So, when you arch your back or raise your butt, you undermine the entire premise of the exercise.

Sadly, this is a really easy habit to fall into, and it is even easier to not know that you have fallen into it. Unless you are constantly doing push ups in front of a mirror like Patrick Bateman, it is hard to see exactly what is going on back there.

Next time you do push-ups, make sure you focus on keeping your back straight. Try locking up your knees and hips. The only joints that are moving should be your shoulders, elbows, wrists, and ankles.

Which actually brings us to our next issue…

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Where are you putting your arms?

Push ups are more than laying down and repeatedly picking yourself up off the ground with your arms. It’s about exercising your chest, arms, and core. And you can’t do that if you have your arms placed way out at your sides or in front of your head.

If you want to learn how to do a perfect push-up, you should start by tucking your thumbs under your shoulders and start with your hands there. And, yes, there are multiple types of push-ups you can do that can help isolate different muscle groups. That said, every good push-up has your arms perpendicular to your chest. And you should never really start more than one hand’s distance away from your shoulder. But feel free to put them as close together as you want.

Breathe!

Frankly, I feel like I shouldn’t even have to tell you this one, but there are so many people who forget to breathe that it still warrants mentioning.

Seems easy enough, right? But a lot of people have this habit of holding their breath when they lift or do push ups. And while it may seem easier to bottle up all your energy and focus it on lifting, if you don’t breathe, you are just shooting yourself in the foot.

The easiest fix for this is to just focus on your breath. Just inhale when you come up and exhale when you go down.

Right? How simple is that?

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Don’t Do Half Push-Ups

Well, not ALL the way down, but you know what I mean.

We’ve all seen people at the gym, hammering out dozens of these little hummingbird push-ups. It seems like they are going hard, but really they are doing little more than cardio. for those that want to learn how to do a perfect push-up, please take this to heart.

To get the strength-building benefits of a push-up, you need to make sure you are doing a full rep every time. You should end every push-up with your arms parallel to your chest, and with your elbow at a 90 degree angle.

Sure, you can do way more teeny tiny push-ups, but like I said before – numbers don’t make you stronger, form does.

No Noodle Legs

Just because push-ups are an upper body exercise, doesn’t mean your legs get to take a nap. If you forget to use your legs, you can end up putting undue stress on your back and possibly injuring yourself. At the very least, you are diminishing the efficiency of the exercise.

The correction is easy enough. Make sure you keep your legs tight and locked in.  If it helps, imagine you are trying to push the backs of your knees up to the ceiling.

And if you keep all these tips in mind, you should finally know how to do a perfect push-up. Now get down and give me fifty!!