Tips for the Perfect Push-Up

We are thrilled to have guest blogger Kris Goldman today to share her awesome tips for the classic, much-loved push-up! Kris is a certified personal trainer (NESTA) coaching at Pure Austin Fitness in Austin, Texas. She believes in training the whole person — mind and body — in order to help individuals find success in health and fitness goals! She also has her own fitness blog which you can find here.


The push-up is the perfect bodyweight exercise that works the entire body in one move. You can do push-ups anywhere or any time since no equipment is required. Although many people use this move in daily workouts, push=ups are commonly done with improper form. If done incorrectly, push=ups can cause pain or discomfort in the shoulders, neck, chest or lower back. However, with proper form, the push-up will develop chest, shoulder, back and lower-body muscles.

Here are a few tips to remember while doing push-ups!

Tips for the Perfect Push-Up

1. Hands: Your palms should be little bit more than shoulder-width apart and positioned along the sides of your chest. A common mistake is putting the hands around or above the head which can create issues in the shoulder, force the hips to pike upwards and minimize the effectiveness of the exercise.

2. Core: Keep your abdominal muscles engaged and tight while performing a push-up. This will support the low back and enable the body to go up and down in one solid movement.

3. Alignment: Your body should be in a straight line from the crown of your head all the way down to your heels. The neck should be straight (gaze about 6 inches in front of you to keep the neck aligned), abs tight to keep the low back from dipping down, and hips should be low (not pushing upward at all). Gluteal muscles, hamstrings and quadriceps should be engaged to keep the legs straight.


4. Slow and low: Move through the push up at a consistent rate. The elbows should come back towards the body at about 45 degrees. Lower the entire body down to about 6 to 8 inches off the floor and then push back in one motion to starting position.

5. Listen: Push-ups can be very difficult when performed the correct way. Listen to your body and lower to the point that feels just a bit challenging for you. Practice proper push-ups and as your primary and secondary muscles groups for this exercise get stronger you will be able to drop a bit lower in the push-up and do more and more.

My challenge to you? Begin with two push-ups today and add two more reps each day for one month!

Have you mastered the perfect push-up? —Kris 

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  1. Sagan says:

    Nice tips! Push ups are my favorite. Nothing like a super quick, full-body workout you can do anywhere at any time.

  2. cheryl says:

    yes, I knock our sets of 20 after my run (for a total of 60-100 depending on time I have). I would add KEEP YOUR HEAD UP to your list…I see too many people thinking they are going all the way down and it’s their head/neck that is way out of whack)

  3. The Padre says:

    I totally scored, found a pair of Perfect Push Ups on Craigslist!!! They are awesome!!! I started w/most of my body weight on an exercise ball & basically was performing incline push ups. I dig the Perfect Push Ups because there is NO pain in my wrist what so ever!! I also like how at the top of my push up I am able to isolate both pecks before starting another rep. Plus, after a warm up, I like engaging the serratus anterior muscles by rolling my shoulders a bit or holding a plank w/bent pain-free elbows. Having said that, Happy 2015 to all of you!!! Stay Strong