To most people, the push-up sounds and looks like a pretty easy movement, but there are very few people that can do a push-up with perfect form.

Most people are so used to rounding their backs and pushing with their shoulders, that they just do not know how to use their chest (pectoral muscles) for any pressing movement.

How to do a push-up:

  • Place your hands on the floor slightly wider then shoulder width.
  • Straighten your entire body and keep it like this for the whole movement.
  • Move your shoulders over your hand so that your arm is positioned straight down into the floor (perpendicular to the floor). This will put most of the force into the chest muscles.
  • Now you are ready to start the movement. Lower your body by bending your arms as low as you can to the floor. Do not, however, go right down. This will put a lot of strain on the shoulder joint and tendons.
  • Push your body, while keeping it straight, back to the starting position.


  • Keep your head up during the entire movement to ease the tension in your neck.
  • Do not flair out your elbows too much. Keep your upper arm at about 45 degrees to your body.
  • Keep all your abdominal and leg muscles tight in order to keep your body straight and stable.
  • If your strength is not up to the task, modify this movement by putting your knees down on the floor, or your hands on a bench, coach or any inclined and stable area. By doing this you incline your body and move more of the weight into your legs.

People with shoulder and/or wrist problems should avoid doing this exercise unsupervised and/or with clearance from their physician.

Pieter van der Linde and Rob Tubajon of Endorphin Junkies 
reviewed by Dr. Art Hister, MD 
in association with the MediResource Clinical Team