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 • 2 551

    ATHLEAN-X™   4 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…

    • Rodge Mulang
      Rodge Mulang  14 hours 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  2 months back

      ATHLEAN-X™ your content is great thanks man!

    • Nel Ins
      Nel Ins  3 months back

      No no no, thank YOU Jeff. You are amazing

    • Jeriame Zenzayer
      Jeriame Zenzayer  4 months back

      Been watching since last March- I must admit that I had no idea what I was doing when working out, nor did I have the discipline to carry out strength training in proper form and duration in order to reach maximum muscle hypertrophy. Now, I am beginning to browse the Athlean X website and seriously thinking about buying a supplement. I have always liked and used Chocolate Muscletech Nitrotech protein powder mixed with Orange Muscetech Celltech Creatine powder- the taste is phenomenal when mixed togetehr with organic skim milk. That said, I am considering the Reconstruxion supplement.. how does the tangerine taste?

  • 1811boredinlex
    1811boredinlex  11 hours back

    Very helpful

    • Mike Wenmar Payo
      Mike Wenmar Payo  21 hours back

      The pictures in the thumbnail are the same lmao

      • WhiteMale
        WhiteMale  2 days back

        Bouncing of the ground, thats my style!

        • link ravenwood
          link ravenwood  2 days back

          Didn’t know that there was a better way to do this thanks will get those gains

          • jingledell1
            jingledell1  3 days back

            Unshrug your shoulder is possibly the best effing push-up advice I've ever received. Thanks, Jeff.

            • Lela Smith
              Lela Smith  5 days back

              For every like ill do a push up

              • Gerry Her
                Gerry Her  6 days back

                5:03 You learned that from Nacho Libre huh lolol

                • Spencer BURKHART
                  Spencer BURKHART  6 days back

                  I've been doing all the stuff you say is correct I still get that pain and cramp I'm doing it for about 5 years still pain no conscious anything

                  • Alex Nguyen
                    Alex Nguyen  7 days back

                    4:08 why does it hurt my should blades when doing this. How do I do this ?

                    • Samuel Goodwin
                      Samuel Goodwin  1 weeks back

                      Thank you! This is extremely helpful!

                      • Chris Marklowitz
                        Chris Marklowitz  1 weeks back

                        Simple tips to keep good form. Keep forearms perpendicular to the ground while keeping arms just outside shoulder width. This will keep your elbows tucked in and ensure good bar path

                        • hbyrdut
                          hbyrdut  1 weeks back

                          Do you only tighten your glutes on the way up and relax them on the way down or do you keep them tight until your done with all of the push ups?

                          • Gr8Success
                            Gr8Success  1 weeks back

                            this video is too damn long i still don't know what is the best form to make a push up i wont sit watch 10 minutes whn all i needed was 3 pictures with up intermediate and down form

                            • Arkady K.
                              Arkady K.  1 weeks back

                              That moment you realize, everything you do in the wrong.

                              • Yv Rohit
                                Yv Rohit  1 weeks back

                                The thumnail makes no sense. Both the photos are same, you are using a green line and red line to show them has different. See the image closely you will understand. Don't miss lead the people by your thumbnails!

                                • Kirsten Bredeveien
                                  Kirsten Bredeveien  2 weeks back

                                  First you unshrug your shoulders, then you shrug them? My push ups don't know what to do now...

                                  • Never Beaten
                                    Never Beaten  2 weeks back

                                    So my energy leaks from my asshole as i push up? All this time i thought i was farting.

                                    • Spethman Jones
                                      Spethman Jones  2 weeks back

                                      This video is a proper bench press guide in disguise

                                      • All Seeing Eye
                                        All Seeing Eye  2 weeks back

                                        i couldnt do 1 pushup before, but with all the tips i managed 3

                                        • Teo Garner
                                          Teo Garner  2 weeks back

                                          As a guy with double jointed shoulders that dislocate a lot this video was a godsend lol. I've been needing to work out more and these are some things that have been holding me back.

                                          • mohammed haque
                                            mohammed haque  2 weeks back

                                            I think I figured out why Saitama's elbows where making weird clickly sounds

                                            • Kory Zapatka
                                              Kory Zapatka  2 weeks back

                                              i was trying to plug my butt or whatever you called it, lmao, and i noticed i was tightening my knees and it hurt my right knee.

                                              • BallisticaMetal
                                                BallisticaMetal  2 weeks back

                                                Damn, I did 20 push-up the you way you recommended and now I REALLY feel those reps in my chest, no more pain in the shoulders and arms... Thanks! You're THE REAL DEAL

                                                • EDEN Eakpong
                                                  EDEN Eakpong  2 weeks back

                                                  thank you

                                                  • Romaine Smith
                                                    Romaine Smith  2 weeks back

                                                    Is it important to keep shoulder blades retracted at the top of the push as well as at the bottom?

                                                    • Chetan Mohite
                                                      Chetan Mohite  2 weeks back

                                                      Ur position of elblow don't connect the rotator cuff 90 degree elbow also incorporate the scapula rotator cuff for reduce injuries of the shoulder

                                                      • Chetan Mohite
                                                        Chetan Mohite  2 weeks back

                                                        Y would u waist energy as we go down with gravity then do the tightening as we push up

                                                        • AFLYINGDUCKY
                                                          AFLYINGDUCKY  2 weeks back

                                                          i immediately felt more of my chest muscles activating. the scapula and body path improvements were really helpful.

                                                          • totalchaos76
                                                            totalchaos76  3 weeks back

                                                            Why is there so many negative comments in here? I found these tips useful in doing proper pushups. If you’re not interested in learning techniques for doing proper pushups why are you here? Or do you think you know more then him? The guy is built like a more then likely he knows what he’s talkin about.

                                                            • mouad rk
                                                              mouad rk  3 weeks back

                                                              thank you man

                                                              • Holland Hollywood
                                                                Holland Hollywood  3 weeks back


                                                                • Martin Diamond
                                                                  Martin Diamond  3 weeks back

                                                                  The thumbnail has two sides where u are doing the exact same thing, but one side is wrong and one side is right, nice

                                                                  • Jiddle Middle
                                                                    Jiddle Middle  3 weeks back

                                                                    I don’t think anyone does pushups like that

                                                                    • FromBeToReality
                                                                      FromBeToReality  3 weeks back

                                                                      i love watching and listening to this guy!

                                                                      • andytesting123
                                                                        andytesting123  3 weeks back

                                                                        Jeff's next video will be his 1000th , like this video as I nicked the idea from a comment below.

                                                                        • Paul Andrei Turcea
                                                                          Paul Andrei Turcea  3 weeks back

                                                                          Hi Jeff! I have a question. BTW, Your content is premium.

                                                                          My question is: wouldn't it be better to couple the push up with a scapular push-up?

                                                                          To initiate the push up from protracted scapulae, to retract and depress them actively, then lower our body through the path you mentioned, checking all the key points, pausing, then coming back up AND protracting the scapulae after we already have extended arms?

                                                                          When coming to push ups I personally think it would be better to benefit from working on the serratus as well, although I wouldn't do the same with the bench press, because of the stable base issue.

                                                                          But in a push-up, the base is comprised by the hands on the ground, so the base remains stable in both variants. Anyway, I hope you get the chance to say something about this.

                                                                          May you always be healthy, happy and strong.

                                                                          Thank you!

                                                                          • Joel p alex
                                                                            Joel p alex  3 weeks back

                                                                            More checklist videos please. I love your teaching skills and your videos.

                                                                            • Hentai w/ Senpai
                                                                              Hentai w/ Senpai  3 weeks back

                                                                              Why!!!..i just can't do it right :(
                                                                              My elbow always bend, like the wrong ways..┻┻︵ヽ(`Д´)ノ︵┻┻

                                                                              • AlexAwef
                                                                                AlexAwef  3 weeks back

                                                                                the thumbnail has both the same pictures ._.

                                                                                • mastar funk
                                                                                  mastar funk  3 weeks back

                                                                                  Thnx Coach

                                                                                  • Benjamin Wilson
                                                                                    Benjamin Wilson  3 weeks back

                                                                                    So I've been leaking energy...

                                                                                    • Ron White
                                                                                      Ron White  2 days back

                                                                                      Me too. And it don't smell good!

                                                                                  • ipeeontheworld
                                                                                    ipeeontheworld  3 weeks back

                                                                                    i started working out 2 months ago and it turns out ive been doing push ups wrong the entire time.. which kinda sucks, changing my posture made me feel completely different in the chest

                                                                                    • Pump Action
                                                                                      Pump Action  4 weeks back

                                                                                      thank you doc

                                                                                      • Ajay Koul
                                                                                        Ajay Koul  4 weeks back

                                                                                        Amazing video 👍

                                                                                        • Bun Bao
                                                                                          Bun Bao  4 weeks back

                                                                                          that bar/body path actually works! i no longer feel that irritable feeling on my right shoulder when doing push ups!

                                                                                          • kamovka50
                                                                                            kamovka50  4 weeks back

                                                                                            Thank you Bro!!!! Now i know why f... my shouders!!!!

                                                                                            • The Duo 702
                                                                                              The Duo 702  4 weeks back

                                                                                              Those glutes 👌