Form Friday: Push Ups


by Devin Sarno, NSCA-CPT

Muscle Groups:  Pectorals, Triceps and Deltoids

Importance: The push-up is an excellent upper body exercise because it requires no equipment and can be modified in a number of ways to increase or decrease the level of difficulty. It is great for beginners and seasoned exercisers and should be incorporated into all fitness programs.

Proper Form:

  1. Begin with your arms straight and abdominals tight in a high plank position. Your hands and arms should be positioned slightly below your shoulders, fingers pointed forward, and shoulders relaxed below your ears.

  2. Initiate the movement by beginning to flex at the elbows with your elbows pulled back at about a 45 degree angle or less

  3. Slowly lower yourself as low as you can (within an inch or two from the floor unless you experience pain)

  4. Once you reach the bottom of the movement, begin to re-extend at the elbows and push your torso away from the floor

  5. Push up until you reach full extension; allow the scapula to move freely at the top of the movement

  6. Repeat for desired number of repetitions

Progression/Regression: Elevated feet push ups, Weighted Pushups, Bench Push-ups, Knee Modified Push Ups


  • Be sure to keep a straight body line throughout the movement, including the head, neck, shoulders, back, torso, hips and all of the way down the chain

  • Control your tempo and go through a complete range of motion

  • Keep the hands below the plane of the shoulders

Sample Workout:


-Pull-ups (or Inverted Rows)

-10 Rounds- Reps: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1