This simple bodyweight movement may not be as easy as you think.
The push-up is a very important and fundamental exercise. You shouldn’t be doing barbell or dumbbell bench presses if you can’t do push-ups.
There are no other arguments here. No chest exercise requires full-body muscle work and mental focus like push-ups, and unless you master it, you won’t be able to press heavy with normal technique.
Here are some of the most common push-up mistakes and how to fix them. Also included is a 21-day perfect push-up course for beginners.
Error 1: Arching the back
Perhaps the most common mistake is a curved back, which occurs when your hips are raised too high and your core is not working. This body position puts a lot of stress on your lower back to keep your body in a prone position.
Correction: lower your hips downward as if pulling them under you and pull in your stomach to engage your core muscles and straighten your lower back.
Error 2: Lowering the hips
This is a further correction of the first error. Your hips are too low and, again, your lower back remains under a lot of tension.
Fix: lift your hips up to straighten your back and repeat the same core-activating mechanics as before.
Mistake 3: Breeding elbows
If you pull your elbows too far to the sides during push-ups, this puts your shoulders in a vulnerable position.
Regardless of whether you are doing push-ups with a narrow stop or a wide set of arms, your elbows should always bend back. This is the most comfortable position for your shoulders.
Correction: make the elbows bend backward rather than to the sides, and the shoulders remain in a neutral position when lowering the body.
Error 4: not full range of motion
This is where your ego comes into play. You want to do some push-ups, but you won’t get any benefit from the exercise if you can’t work your full range.
Quality is always important, not quantity. You limit yourself and your strength if you don’t go all the way up and down.
Correction: take your time, let go of your ego, don’t chase numbers, and focus on correct technique.
Error 5: head down
By doing this, you are guaranteed to strain your neck and traps a lot.
Correction: raise your head to a neutral position and hold it throughout the movement.
Mistake 6: Keeping fingers together
This puts too much pressure on the wrist.
Correction: Distribute the weight evenly over the hands with fingers wide apart. If your wrists hurt due to poor mobility, you can do hand-held dumbbell push-ups or fist push-ups.
21 Day Perfect Push Up Course for Beginners
Choose a body position (hands and feet on the floor, arms above leg level, feet above head level) that will allow you to perform the perfect push-ups for your fitness level.
Break the reps into as many sets as needed to do the correct push-ups. Use a relatively small number of reps for this task so you can safely level up your push-ups.
Remember, if your lower back is drooping and your neck and traps are heavily loaded, this is not considered a correct push-up.
If you use this form of exercise, you are accustoming yourself to a push-up pattern that will cause you more pain and discomfort than will help you in the future.
Such repetitions do not count! Find someone to give you honest feedback on your technique, and don’t be afraid to hear the hard truth.
When you start to feel stronger and are good at doing push-ups, try to find a harder one where you can do more perfect reps at a time.
So, in the further program, break the repetitions into as many sets as you need.
Week 1: Easy week
Direction: you can use a higher surface to support your hands if it is not difficult to do push-ups on the floor.
- Day 1: 4/3/3/2 = 12
- Day 2: 5/4/3/2 = 14
- Day 3: 5/5/4/2 = 16
- Day 4: Rest
- Day 5: 6/5/5/3 = 19
- Day 6: 7/6/5/3 = 21
- Day 7: Rest
Week 2: Intermediate
Direction: use a lower surface for the palm rest or more difficult push-up options.
- Day 8: 4/3/3/2 = 12
- Day 9: 5/4/3/2 = 14
- Day 10: 5/5/4/2 = 16
- Day 11: Rest
- Day 12: 5/5/5/4 = 19
- Day 13: 6/5/5/4 = 20
- Day 14: Rest
Week 3: Hard
Direction: use only a flat surface or the most difficult option, such as feet above head level.
- Day 15: 4/3/2/1 = 10
- Day 16: 4/3/2/2 = 11
- Day 17: 4/3/3/2 = 12
- Day 18: Rest
- Day 19: 5/4/3/2 = 14
- Day 20: Rest
- Day 21: Check your rep range against where you started, or see if you can meet your push-up goal. For example, 30 times in a row or 1-2 push-ups on one arm.
I am an advanced push-up. How can you complicate the task?
Congratulations on perfecting your floor push-ups! If traditional push-ups are too easy for you, you can make them harder in many ways! For example:
- Raised feet
- Hands or feet in TRX loops
- Hands on a fitness ball, Bosu platform or kettlebell set at different heights or widths
- Cotton push-ups for each rep
- Push-ups on one arm or with additional resistance (pancake from the bar on the back or rubber band.