How to Push Up

People think of the push up as an upper body exercise and it is; but it's so much more than that. It requires you to develop strength in the upper body, but it also works the trunk, glutes & legs, that have to be held strongly in place to make the exercise possible.

This is another basic functional movement. In its simplest form you are just pushing yourself up of the floor, something which (much like the squat) we should all be able to do.

In this blog I'll go through the basic move and look at some techniques that will really help you to improve and strengthen your push up and get the most from this brilliant exercise.

What are we working? Chest, Shoulders, Arms, Back, Core, Bum (yes, I’ll explain).


  • Straighten Up. Keep your Head, shoulders, hips, knees and ankle all perfectly in line. Imagine a straight line running from your head down to your ankles. Pull in your belly button tight. A strong, engaged mid section means you don't have to struggle or wobble through the rep. Also squeezing your glutes (bum cheeks) and knees and ankles together will help. This continues that strong engaged feeling through the length of the body. Some people recommend taking the feet further apart. This does make the body slightly shorter and gives you a wider base, but you loose the benefit of the strong core and glutes that you get when you squeeze the ankles together. Look to the floor, don’t look up or tuck your chin in.

  • Keep Shoulders Back & Stable. Use the muscles of your upper back to keep the elbows tucked in & shoulders stable. Pull your shoulders right in and down. Imagine you are trying to screw your arms into the floor or squeeze an orange under your arm pits.

  • Hand Position. Place your hands just below plane of your shoulders. A lot of people have their hands too high and too narrow/too wide. To get the best effect and most stable position keep them below shoulder level so you can feel your upper body-weight just on top of the wrists. You hand should be just outside the shoulders. Not too wide otherwise you'll make it hard to keep the shoulder stable and you limit your range of motion. Not too narrow as that push up variation that targets the triceps more. We're looking for a happy medium.