You’re Doing Push-Ups Wrong! Here’s How to Correct Them.

by Jordan Syatt December 15, 2013

Push-Ups should be included in every training program.

Seasoned SF readers will know that I’m not a fan of absolute statements and never throw them around without serious thought.

That being the case, when I say something like push-ups should be included in every training program you know you can take it to the bank.

Like all exercises, though, push-up technique is almost always completely butchered.

Even with seasoned training veterans, there are usually serious technique flaws which need to be addressed in order to increase the overall effectiveness of their push-up.

Take for example, my client, Lisa, whom I coach through my online coaching program.

Lisa is a very strong lifter and has a great deal of experience in the gym. In fact, when she sent me the initial videos of her Squatting, Deadlifting, and Bench Pressing, I was blown away with her extraordinary technique.

When she sent me the video of her push-ups, though, there was a great deal which needed to be corrected.

To give you some perspective, below is her original push-up video.

Lisa’s Original Push-Up

So what’s wrong with this push-up? Well, several things:

1) Her hands are way too far out in front of her shoulders. To remedy this, I told Lisa to place her hands directly underneath her shoulders.

2) Her elbows are flaring out too much. This places far more strain on the shoulder and makes it harder to maintain good scapular control. To remedy this, I told Lisa to make a 45-degree angle between her elbows and torso. In other words, I just told her to bring her elbows closer to her body.

3) She’s reaching forward with her head. To remedy this, Lisa needs to keep her chin tucked and make a double-chin throughout the entire movement. This will help her keep a neutral spinal alignment and maintain better form.

I sent Lisa those 3 simple corrections and she drastically improved her technique. Take a gander in the video below.

Lisa’s Push-Up: 1st Correction

See how much better this is? She’s getting a full range of motion (ROM) in a much safer movement pattern. Overall, this is a great push-up.

However, being the nit-picky coach that I am, I did see one more thing for Lisa to correct.

Watch the video again and pay special attention to her shoulders in relation to her ears. If you watch closely enough, you’ll notice that her shoulders actually shrug up towards her ears which means she’s using a lot of upper trap when I want her to be using low/mid trap, rhomboid and lat.

So how do we fix this?


I just told Lisa to keep her shoulders down & away from her ears throughout the entire movement.

Lisa, being the strength phenom that she is, made the change immediately and sent me the video below of her doing perfect push-ups.

Lisa’s Push-Up: 2nd Correction

How awesome is that?

There’s nothing like a perfect push-up!

Do you want to improve your push-up technique?

Watch my instructional video detailing exactly how to perform  a perfect push-up.

How to Do a Push-Up

Did you like this article?

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