push up fitness

Perfecting Your Push Up

While it may seem basic there are a lot of components that go into this total body (yes, total body) move. To perfect this drill a lot of time, practice, awareness of form, and strength is required. Once your form is dialed-in you will be AH-MAZED at how sculpted you will become. Not only does your chest take the heat, but so do your arms, your core, and your shoulders.

The first step of any exercise is to understand proper form and the movement associated with it. Think about what is happening, are you targeting the proper muscle groups? Are you moving in sync with your breathing? Mentally check off the list below as your flow through your push-up sequence.


  • Shoulders positioned directly over the wrist
  • Spine should be long and neutral
  • Hips should be flat and not dip below the spine or raise up into a pike position
  • Engage the core by bringing the abs toward the spine

Hand Positioning

  • Hands are shoulder width apart
  • Fingers  are lightly spread out
  • To target triceps angle your fingers slightly inward


  • Inhale as you bend your arms and lower your chest to the floor
  • Exhale as you do the work and push your body back up to starting position

Putting it Together

Push-ups can be catered to all levels with various modifications and challenges.

Modified Push-up

Modified Push-up 3

When you’re doing modified push-ups, keep your back straight. Also keep your movements smooth and controlled.

Standard Push Up

Push Up Final

Spiderman Push Up (Challenge)

Spiderman Push Up

Start with the modified version and as soon as you can do a set of 10-12 without stopping and with proper form you’re ready to move on to the standard drill. Likewise, once you’ve mastered the standard push-up challenge yourself! The beauty of push-ups is that you can do them anywhere. Drop and give yourself 20 before you take your morning shower. Add in a set of 10 when you stretch during your long training run. Jolt your metabolism after that 2 hour meeting (that catered lunch) by doing 5 reps at your desk.

Images via: Live Fit with Caitlin, Prevention Magazine, Reality of You.


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