The Official Push-Up Checklist (AVOID MISTAKES!)

  • Published: 25 March 2019
  • The Push-Up is one of the most commonly performed exercises in the gym, unfortunately it is also one of the most often misperformed exercises. In this video, I’m going to give you a step by step checklist to make sure that you are nailing every piece of the pushup correctly so that you get nothing but gains and avoid the pains that come from doing this wrong.

    The first thing that is helpful to do however is to see the similarities between the pushup and the bench press. If you visualize the movements, they are essentially the same in terms of the mechanics of the press except one is done with a barbell as the resistance and the other utilizes your own bodyweight.

    If you work your way from the top down, you will want to be sure that you’re fixing each area of the chain that could present a weakness. It starts at the head and neck. When you bench press you want to avoid pushing the back of your head into the bench as you press the bar up. This often occurs as people try and generate a counter force to the bar being pressed away from them. On the pushup the head is often driven downwards. The reason here however has more to do with visually trying to cheat the rep. Making your eyes think they are closer to the ground than your body actually is. In either case you want to keep the head in neutral throughout the exercise.

    Next is the shoulders. It is important on both the bench press and the pushup that you unshrug your shoulders prior to starting the repetition. This puts your shoulders in a better position and with less likelihood for impingement. It also naturally helps to correct the position of the elbows during the descent which is something that we will cover later.

    The next place to focus on is the upper back and scapulae. You need to realize just how important this area is if you want to perform a bench press or pushup with maximum force generation and stability. Just as you would not attempt to perform a max vertical jump off of an unstable base like sand, you would not want to try and press from one either. The stability of tightening the shoulder blades and squeezing them together is something that can improve the force with which you can push off of them. Be sure to tighten yours and keep the bar over this area at the beginning and end of every rep.

    Finally, the last set up checklist item is the activation of your glutes. On the push-up in particular, this will create a rigidity in your entire body that will make the transfer of force much more efficient and less likely to be lost at any point in the press. Really squeeze your glutes tight or drive your feet into the floor if you are pressing and you will find that you instantly increase the strength you have on the lift.

    When you begin the press the most important thing you can do is focus on the position of the elbows as they relate to your body. Instead of letting the elbows flare out to the sides be sure to drop them from the horizontal about 30 degrees. This will once again protect your shoulders and actually put you into a more biomechanically strong position to push from.

    Finally, the bar path is critical. Most have heard that the path of a bench press is straight. That is true but that doesn’t mean that it is straight up and down. To perform a bench press properly you want to press on an angle, from low on your chest to back up directly over the position of power and stability that we talked about already. Pausing at the bottom of each rep here will reinforce that you got here with control and not momentum.

    The details like this matter no matter what exercise you’re doing. If you’re looking for a complete program where we put the science back in strength on every exercise to create the best results you are capable of, head to the link below and check out the ATHLEAN-X Training Systems.

    For more videos on how to do more pushups and the best way to increase your bench press, be sure to subscribe to our channel below and turn on your notifications so you never miss a new video when it’s published.

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Comments • 2 758

    ATHLEAN-X™   7 months back

    *NOTIFICATION SQUAD GIVEAWAY* - Alright guys, I’m giving away a complete 30 Day Workout program to 100 lucky clickers within the first hour this video is published! Remember, this is NOT THE FIRST 100, but those randomly selected WITHIN the first hour the video is published. So don't b*tch if you're not one of them :) Just try next time. Click the link to see if you’ve won. Good luck!

    If you don’t win, no worries. Just be sure you have your notifications turned on so you can get to my next video quickly and try again. Good luck and thanks for being a loyal subscriber…

    • Shakirioseats Cheerios
      Shakirioseats Cheerios  3 months back

      Hey wesleybvirgin made a video of this workout that equals to 1000 situps

    • Rodge Mulang
      Rodge Mulang  3 months back

      I love you jeff! Your the best gym vlogger for me! Very precise! Detailed and everything!

      Question: can an ectomorph at young age turn into mesomorhp when his at 30's?

      Do you know any cheap suplement/powder which can gain muscles and burn fat at the same time?

      Tnx!! More power!
      -rodge frm phil.

    • Shane Meehan
      Shane Meehan  5 months back

      ATHLEAN-X™ your content is great thanks man!

    • Jessie's Intro
      Jessie's Intro  6 months back

      No no no, thank YOU Jeff. You are amazing

  • Ahmad Rahimi
    Ahmad Rahimi  7 hours back

    Super 👍🏻

    • Foxly
      Foxly  1 days back

      Please help. I can only do a proper push up when I do knuckle push ups, because my wrists don't bend far enough back. Is this normal? :(

      • WyimaginowanY
        WyimaginowanY  2 days back

        Can't I just use a butt plug for that energy leak?

        • Astral Alundra
          Astral Alundra  5 days back

          5:07 *Nacho libre has joined the chat*

          • Amadeus tentacle Bts
            Amadeus tentacle Bts  6 days back

            I'm desperately trying to get at least 5 cause I got boxing training in 40 minutes again and its embarrassing how weak my arms are

            • Chaunce Shrewsbury
              Chaunce Shrewsbury  1 weeks back

              Can I do a push-up regimen one day and bench the next? Or am I doing too much?

              • Udum-So Ifukayu
                Udum-So Ifukayu  1 weeks back

                I call it plugging the butt

                • MetalZlig
                  MetalZlig  1 weeks back

                  Awesome video! THANKS!!! :D

                  • Faith Cha
                    Faith Cha  1 weeks back

                    It already feels better, straight up. I'm literally mind blown on how good and right the push ups feel now.

                    • King Gummi
                      King Gummi  1 weeks back

                      So why exactly is the thumbnail the exact same position just with different lines

                      • Anirudh T
                        Anirudh T  2 weeks back

                        How do we prevent shoulder blades from relaxing as we come up during a rep? I am trying to control it, but it keeps happening

                        • Tony
                          Tony  2 weeks back

                          Am I the only one that is really scared of the bench press?

                          • N3ON -
                            N3ON -  2 weeks back

                            When i do a pushup my back doesent stay still any tips??

                            • 6070 VINYL45cny
                              6070 VINYL45cny  2 weeks back

                              Coo vid. Gonna try the bar/body path correction today. Thanks !

                              • Puppie Pill
                                Puppie Pill  2 weeks back

                                Thanks for the video. I think I should watch your video exclusively. I used to have strain and a lot of popping. After watching someone else video the popping happen more often now it's gone because of this video. At home all I have is a foldable chair, dumbbells, and I don't have a pull-up bar. Hope you have some video for people who work out at home.

                                • leonardo rodriguez
                                  leonardo rodriguez  2 weeks back

                                  The military needs your fitness guidance jeff!!

                                  • Fellow accelerationist
                                    Fellow accelerationist  2 weeks back

                                    This man knows what he is talking about.

                                    • Ningthoujam Ranjan Singh

                                      you r the best....

                                      • Américo José
                                        Américo José  2 weeks back

                                        Jeff, how about protracted scapulas push ups? (like planche leans or even straddle/full planche push ups). Thanks in advance!

                                        • Deruzzi
                                          Deruzzi  3 weeks back

                                          Some people say look straight ahead while doing push ups, then some say look down, what

                                          • Wayne Sardana
                                            Wayne Sardana  3 weeks back

                                            Now i know why my elbows are aching.

                                            • Krynn Newton
                                              Krynn Newton  3 weeks back

                                              I'm terrible at pushups. Can't get a full range of motion at all.

                                              This helped hugely to get further down with better form. Not all the way, but I get some way

                                              • TheShubbah
                                                TheShubbah  3 weeks back

                                                Weird thing for me is doing correct form pushups hurts my shoulder

                                                • UTKARSH MITTAL
                                                  UTKARSH MITTAL  3 weeks back

                                                  Great video. Give lot of insight. Thanks bro

                                                  • Pierre Bridenne
                                                    Pierre Bridenne  3 weeks back

                                                    Great work, thanks from France !

                                                    • Jake Widmer
                                                      Jake Widmer  3 weeks back

                                                      Thank you for posting such thorough and well researched workout advice! Your videos have helped me tremendously since I started working out and I appreciate what you do. Keep up the good work and keep getting those gains!

                                                      • 赵启帆
                                                        赵启帆  3 weeks back

                                                        Come on jeff , great video,but u leave out how to place the hand and how to generate it

                                                        • tie oneon
                                                          tie oneon  4 weeks back

                                                          came back for the knowledge

                                                          • Suhas Jayavelu
                                                            Suhas Jayavelu  4 weeks back

                                                            Very Useful Sir👌🏼

                                                            • Lone Warrior
                                                              Lone Warrior  4 weeks back

                                                              I had always been under the impression that elbows (more) out would focus more power on the chest whereas elbows in would focus power on the triceps thereby "cheating" the exercise and the chest. I stand corrected.

                                                              This information, as well as the "body path" correction, have greatly benefited the results and comfort of this exercise for me since I've implemented these correct methods the past few months after seeing this video.

                                                              Thank you.

                                                              • Zetsuke4
                                                                Zetsuke4  4 weeks back

                                                                Best channel ever

                                                                • Zetsuke4
                                                                  Zetsuke4  4 weeks back

                                                                  Rewatching this with more knowledge and experience now this makes soo much sense!!

                                                                  • Santiago Castro
                                                                    Santiago Castro  4 weeks back

                                                                    Thanks man, so appreciated

                                                                    • Jonathan Grobler
                                                                      Jonathan Grobler  4 weeks back

                                                                      my body creeks and cracks like an old rocking chair whenever I do this :/

                                                                      • BluFox_A
                                                                        BluFox_A  4 weeks back

                                                                        i already learned something from the thumbnail

                                                                        • 股神
                                                                          股神  4 weeks back

                                                                          thx a lot, I keep gym coz u r here for free teaching

                                                                          • Rudra Pratap Singh
                                                                            Rudra Pratap Singh  4 weeks back

                                                                            I'd like to unbox them 5:01

                                                                            • Rudra Pratap Singh
                                                                              Rudra Pratap Singh  4 weeks back

                                                                              Okay... I didn't understand shit 2:32

                                                                              • Space Samurai
                                                                                Space Samurai  1 months back

                                                                                Everything i am doing is wrong
                                                                                I give up
                                                                                Too complicated
                                                                                Your videos are awesome!
                                                                                But i can't watch anymore

                                                                                • LinuxHurts
                                                                                  LinuxHurts  1 months back

                                                                                  Jeff is ALWAYS on point!

                                                                                  • Sebastian Kulesza
                                                                                    Sebastian Kulesza  1 months back

                                                                                    Thank you you guys are awesome! I always learn something new from you! You are the man! Every single video I can honestly enjoy! cuz you are on point and funny!!👌👊😎

                                                                                    • Princedeep Jabbal
                                                                                      Princedeep Jabbal  1 months back

                                                                                      How about you prove your body is real rather than hiding it show us progession photos

                                                                                      • Tyler1330
                                                                                        Tyler1330  1 months back

                                                                                        Ooh I wish Jeff and YouTube were in my life 20yrs ago when I first started to lift!!! Made unnecessary mistakes for years. Got big shoulders and beefy triceps with a lacking chest and really tight pectoris muscles. If your a teen or young adult listen to this man's wisdom and knowledge! Learn it from the beginning!! Who cares what you bench moving the less weight right seriously is better!!

                                                                                        • Sumit
                                                                                          Sumit  1 months back

                                                                                          Just tried Jeff's way, I was able to do it more.

                                                                                          • taab7
                                                                                            taab7  1 months back

                                                                                            Learned something new i.r.o. of point 6. Not sure I agree with locking the elbows especially when doing high reps push-ups or when benching heavy weights as that can cause elbow tendonitis which can take weeks to recover from.

                                                                                            • Yash Vashisht
                                                                                              Yash Vashisht  1 months back

                                                                                              Awesome video

                                                                                              • n/a
                                                                                                n/a  1 months back

                                                                                                ejaculation 5:04