The PERFECT Pushup

To do a perfect pushup you have to first make sure that you’re correcting the most common push-up mistakes.

It starts in the setup.

Far too often, people will find themselves setting up to perform a push up with shrugged shoulders. This is wrong. If you want to perform a proper pushup you want to be sure that your scapulae or shoulder blades are going to be able to move correctly. It is impossible for that to happen when the shoulders are not in the correct place.

By actively un-shrugging the shoulders and pulling them down and away from the ears you are setting the shoulder blades and taking them out of elevation. Here they have the ability to stay more engaged with the rib cage and follow the natural arc of the arms as you descend into and out of the pushup.

Next, you want to make sure that you are not letting your knees or hips sag. This is one of those areas that doesn’t get enough attention in this popular chest exercise. The hips or knees being lax will cost you whole body tension on the exercise. If you want to be as efficient as possible during each rep you have to keep your entire body tight and engaged.

This is easily done by forcefully contracting your quads (which will straighten your knees) and then squeezing your glutes (which will put the hips in their proper alignment).

Next you want to focus on the position of your elbows as you descend into the push-up. You do not want to flare the elbows as you lower down. This will place your shoulder joints in a compromised position and limit your strength on the exercise. Instead, let your elbows ride down and back at a 45 degree angle to the torso to maximize both strength and stability on the pushup. You can watch a quick tutorial on how to do that in every rep by checking out this short here –

Finally, how do you know if you have gone low enough on the pushup and whether or not you are using proper range of motion on the chest exercise? By simply performing a hand release pushup. Instead of guessing if you have gone low enough ensure that you have by lowering yourself down to the ground under control and when you’ve reached the floor, briefly lift both hands off the ground, place them back on the ground and push up.

This will not only remove the momentum from the movement but it will again ensure that your range of motion was full and adequate for producing chest growth and gains. It also takes away the speed component from the push-up exercise allowing you to place more of the tension on the chest.

For more tips on how to do a perfect pushup or any other exercise and how to get the most out of every exercise you do, be sure to stay tuned to this channel and remember to subscribe so that you never miss another video from a physical therapist with a pro sports background as a PT and strength coach.

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Jeff Cavaliere MSPT, CSCS served as both the head physical therapist and assistant strength coach for the New York Mets. Jeff earned his Masters of Physical Therapy and Bachelor’s of Physioneurobiology from the College of Health Sciences University of Connecticut Storrs. He is a certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).