Pushups: 5 tips for perfect technique

Posted in Fitness by quadriceps on July 24, 2010

There is no such thing as a one size fits all pushup technique that is perfect for everyone. But there are some guidelines that apply equally well to everyone. And here they are, in 5 easy pointers that’ll have you doing pushups like a pro in no time at all:

1 – Comfort

If you drop down and do some push-ups without really thinking about it, you’ll naturally settle into a groove — comfortable exercise form that suits your body type, limb length, preexisting injuries, etc.

Unless you have a really good reason for doing so, avoid unnatural hand placements or body position during pull-ups. Advanced athletes can benefit from unorthodox push-up variations, but when you’re trying to make progress in the basic exercise, stick to what works.

2 – Alignment

Keep your shoulders, hips and ankles in a straight line. There can be a temptation to stick the rear end in the air, or to let your middle sag into a swayback position.

Avoid both extremes and keep yourself ramrod straight.

If you really have a hard time keeping your body straight during press-ups, work on your lower-back strength by performing some plank holds.

3 – Legs together

Make sure your feet are together when you do the exercise. It can be tempting to keep the feet spread apart, but this is less than ideal because it makes it easier to keep your body from falling to either side.

With your legs together, you’ll be working on torso stabilization as well as triceps, shoulders and chest strength.

4 – Soft elbows

Don’t lock your elbows out hard at the top of the push-up.

There is no good reason to risk hyperextension of the elbow joint. High-rep sets of pushups put you at risk for this sort of injury — especially when you get fatigued — so keep in mind that the elbow joints should remain soft at the top.

5 – Even breathing

If you are not breathing easily and evenly, something is probably wrong with your form. Your breathing shouldn’t call attention to itself while you’re doing pushups.

Most people breathe out when they go up and in when they go down. But feel free to take some extra breaths if necessary.


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