How to do a perfect push up

How to do a perfect push up

The trick with doing a proper push up is keeping the correct form.

It’s tempting to knock push ups out at speed, dipping the back, or pushing from your stomach to raise up. It’s important to maintain a good posture throughout and make sure you are using your arms to push.

Follow these tips for a perfect push up:

  • Start by getting in the plank position with your hands just wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Your feet should feel comfortable, so shoulder width apart is fine, but it’s equally fine for them to be together. The wider they are the more stable you’ll probably feel.
  • Like when you plank, ensure your body is in a straight line. Don’t let your behind sag down or your back arch up.
  • Engage your abs and clench your buttocks if you want to work on getting this correct straight line.
  • Look ahead. It’s easy to look down, but it should be your chin that will be the first thing to hit the floor. Not your nose.
  • At the top of your push up, your arms should be straight and supporting your weight.

Maintain this form now as you lower yourself with your arms so the elbows are at a 90 degree angle or less. Some people can take their chest right down to the floor, but only go as low as you can deal with without losing that form.

Keep your elbows tucked in as best you can, without them flailing out to the sides. When your chest is on the floor, or you are as low as you can go, pause for a second before pushing up in a controlled manner.

Carry on until your form dips. As soon as it does - stop.


The Author

Laura Briggs

Laura is a fitness writer who loves running, strength training, Pilates and Yoga. When she's got time to herself you might find her knitting, or in the kitchen trying out an elaborate recipe - healthy of course!.


Jim R.
15 March 2017

Jim R.

I think it does matter - nose down makes it quite easy to strain your neck. And also very wise advice to stop when the form goes. Not worth the injury!

Sean S.
11 March 2017

Sean S.

Hi Claire,. I don't think it matters too much really, as long as your back is straight, your arms are straight and your neck is relaxed. It's more a matter of personal preference, as far as I can tell. I've certainly never been told otherwise.

Claire H.
7 March 2017

Claire H.

I often forget to look ahead as it feels easier to look straight down. Why is this so important?

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