The Official Push-Up Checklist (AVOID MISTAKES!)

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  • 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 • 2 691

  • ATHLEAN-X™
    ATHLEAN-X™   6 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! 
    https://giveaway.athleanx.com/ytg/pushup-check-list

    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…

    • Shakirios eats Cheerios
      Shakirios eats Cheerios  2 months back

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

    • Rodge Mulang
      Rodge Mulang  2 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  4 months back

      ATHLEAN-X™ your content is great thanks man!

    • Nel Ins
      Nel Ins  5 months back

      No no no, thank YOU Jeff. You are amazing

  • n/a
    n/a  16 hours back

    ejaculation 5:04

    • Nigel Hallam - Hallam Hallam Natural Trainer

      Missed this one...? a most important accessory tutorial to improve the bench press

      • Mohammed Ahmed
        Mohammed Ahmed  2 days back

        Ok, do be frank, I was doing the push up wrong, and felt pain in my inner shoulder. When I talked to the instructor at the gym he said me that it's normal and it'll go as you get stronger. After seeing this video, I adjusted my push ups and no pain at all. Although push ups got a hell harder for me, at least no pain. Thanks Jeff, you're a great man.

        • Ron Sealy
          Ron Sealy  5 days back

          The science in bodybuilding is real. My strength has increased following his techniques. Right On Jeff.

          • Luke Skywalker
            Luke Skywalker  6 days back

            WOW, WATCHING THIS I FELT AN INSTANT IMPROVEMENT. I USE THE PERFECT PUSH UP BARS AND I WAS HAVING ELBOW JOINT ACHES ALMOST EVERY DAY. AS SOON AS I STARTED DOING THEM SLOWY AND WITH THIS FORM. THE ACHING SLOWLY WENT AWAY WITH THE DAYS. AND IT DOESNT HURT TO PUSH UP EITHER ANYMORE. THANK YOU BROTHER FOR THE HELP AND GOOD INSTRUCTIONS.

            • A H M E D 0 6
              A H M E D 0 6  1 weeks back

              Thats cool and all but where tf is the difference in the thumbnail

              • Emmanuel Diaz
                Emmanuel Diaz  1 weeks back

                How’s the proper breathing doing push-ups?

              • m3tasc0ut
                m3tasc0ut  1 weeks back

                you heard it fellas, plug your butts

                • Bibek karkee
                  Bibek karkee  2 weeks back

                  Good info jeff

                  • Maryann Benitez
                    Maryann Benitez  2 weeks back

                    You are amazing! Love the work you do! I send all my massage clients to your site so they can understand more about how their bodies function. Blessings to you.

                    • Joey Wheeler
                      Joey Wheeler  2 weeks back

                      Are you supposed to lock elbows during pressups / diamond pressups??

                    • Yvonne Roach
                      Yvonne Roach  2 weeks back

                      I have the ability to complete a modified push-up and applying these specific adjustments made the push-up feel fluid. When completing modified push-ups before, it felt uncoordinated. Coordination has always been a struggle for me. So, I appreciate the fluidity of these adjustments!🙂

                      • Akshit Jain
                        Akshit Jain  2 weeks back

                        Man, thanks a lot jeff. Things like the details you tell about every kind of exercise is what i was looking for, for a loooong time. And you know, even the professional gym instructors havn't told what i was doing wrong, so i quit gym and moved to DIY body-weight exercises & yoga. Thanks to you, i know now what i have been doing wrong, still. I'm really hooked up on your videos now. Thanks bro. Wish you all the best.

                        • Chooper
                          Chooper  2 weeks back

                          All of that knowledge and yet you still managed to over complicate a simple exercise.
                          Less is more bro. Genius can always be found alongside simplicity.

                          • Zaynab Pruitt
                            Zaynab Pruitt  2 weeks back

                            Excellent!

                            • Keiwer Alberto Suárez
                              Keiwer Alberto Suárez  2 weeks back

                              Thankyou always helpful tips

                              • Red Forsberg
                                Red Forsberg  2 weeks back

                                Bruh the thumbnail pictures are both the same

                                • CarelessYT
                                  CarelessYT  3 weeks back

                                  I can do 3 pushups before stopping lol

                                  • Bryan G
                                    Bryan G  3 weeks back

                                    A big difference between the two is pushups require a lot more core engagement. I recommend pushups if you can do them along with the bench press.

                                    • Herr Unbekannt
                                      Herr Unbekannt  3 weeks back

                                      Why do you tell us to retract our sholderblades an you are not doing it when you show us with the Elbow position

                                      • Paul Smith
                                        Paul Smith  3 weeks back

                                        Thumbnail images are identical postures. Complete nonsense.

                                        • bedFrags
                                          bedFrags  2 weeks back

                                          Paul Smith the stance and picture are the same, but the arrows show the pathing you should be taking. So your in the stance with your hands in front of you on the floor. When you go down to the floor your hands should be located at chest line. Opposed to having your hands be in the same position when your in up stance and down stance. All this while not adjusting your hands and having your chest and hip in sync.

                                      • Shane MacD
                                        Shane MacD  3 weeks back

                                        How pushup checklists are killing your gains...

                                        • eat.that. porridge.
                                          eat.that. porridge.  3 weeks back

                                          girls. i know you are here too. don't let me down

                                          • Danilo Santos
                                            Danilo Santos  3 weeks back

                                            Fala de mais filha da puta

                                            • Avila Terence
                                              Avila Terence  3 weeks back

                                              This is... Incredibly helpful, I cant begin to describe just how awesome these tips was jeff. Love your works man!

                                              • Max416188
                                                Max416188  3 weeks back

                                                Quick question to anyone. I have just under a year worth of experience lifting and I recently started a 4 day upper lower routine. For push movements I focus on chest shoulders triceps. Would an effective way to train be for example:
                                                Week 1 - chest/strength, shoulders/power, triceps/size
                                                Week 2 - triceps/strength, chest/power, shoulders/size
                                                Week 3 - shoulders/strength, triceps/power, chest/size
                                                Or should I do say chest would be strength for the 1st workout and power for 2nd, then the next week have chest for size the 1st workout than strength. or just go heavy for all 3 on 1st workout, and then do volume? Sorry for long ass comment, I don't feel I've made my point unless you know all the details. Any input would be appreciated.

                                                • Drew Peters
                                                  Drew Peters  3 weeks back

                                                  Great video, have been watching your videos recently, and have been employing many of your tips, and I’ve already noticed more definition in both my arms and chest.

                                                  • Brenden Schippers
                                                    Brenden Schippers  3 weeks back

                                                    How might a beginner/out of shape individual be able to adapt this to modified push-ups? I've noted it's difficult to maintain form given certain lines of motion when modifying these pushups to be able to do them at all to build up to a good and proper formed pushup.

                                                    • Shraddhey Srivastava
                                                      Shraddhey Srivastava  3 weeks back

                                                      thank you

                                                      • Andreas Georgiou
                                                        Andreas Georgiou  3 weeks back

                                                        For 30 years and multiple shoulders, back and elbow injuries later, Jeff teaches me how to do it safely wow my shoulders try and drift up this is gonna take some re learning

                                                        • Sabeel M
                                                          Sabeel M  3 weeks back

                                                          Can you really retract shoulder blades on a push up? It feels so unnatural and difficult

                                                          • Aneeqa Aslam
                                                            Aneeqa Aslam  3 weeks back

                                                            Thank you. Helped a lot !

                                                            • Mats Wiren
                                                              Mats Wiren  3 weeks back

                                                              I've watched MOVEU materials from instagram lately and they emphasize on scooping the scapula and trying not to squeeze the scapulas together. Rather focusing on the non-shrug and the scapula scoop. So not like Jeff does in 04:08.. So maybe more like trying to actively push the scapulas down and scooping them to the side while going up and down during the pushup. Any thoughts on this?

                                                              • WWE TV
                                                                WWE TV  3 weeks back

                                                                It's very useful information.Thanks Jeff a lot.Like this comment in order to support him

                                                                • psyckojoe
                                                                  psyckojoe  3 weeks back

                                                                  Thanks for the ass shot, Jeff, it was very important.

                                                                  • ANTONIO BARRAGAN
                                                                    ANTONIO BARRAGAN  3 weeks back

                                                                    This guy right here has become my mentor.!!

                                                                    • Jeremy Townsend
                                                                      Jeremy Townsend  3 weeks back

                                                                      Thank you so much for these tips. Come to find out, I've been doing push ups & bench presses wrong all my life. Wondering why my chest wasnt getting any bigger but my shoulders are getting huge. Once again Jeff Thank you for your help.

                                                                      • Emex Crich
                                                                        Emex Crich  3 weeks back

                                                                        I have come also realise that incorrect posture while doing push ups has caused impingement on my left shoulder.

                                                                    • Seth Roy
                                                                      Seth Roy  4 weeks back

                                                                      i actually like to set up my push-up from the bottom of the movement just to make sure that everything is positioned right

                                                                      • Mehdi Cheikh
                                                                        Mehdi Cheikh  4 weeks back

                                                                        Best push-up lesson (y)

                                                                        • Trip ni Marco
                                                                          Trip ni Marco  4 weeks back

                                                                          I did what I could to follow Jeff and made 300 push ups a day for a month. I think my takeaway is I gained discipline and consistency. Nothing much has changed, but I think I got a tighter core now.

                                                                          • Tetra Sky
                                                                            Tetra Sky  4 weeks back

                                                                            Tighten your glutes boys.
                                                                            Or for anyone who doesn't speak muscle , tighten your butt.

                                                                            • mrbigg151
                                                                              mrbigg151  4 weeks back

                                                                              After watching the video, the thumbnail makes more sense to me. Very informative and helpful!

                                                                              • Zetsuke4
                                                                                Zetsuke4  4 weeks back

                                                                                Very informative

                                                                                • Zetsuke4
                                                                                  Zetsuke4  4 weeks back

                                                                                  This is soo good even though my form is already correct

                                                                                  • Gillian Guevara
                                                                                    Gillian Guevara  4 weeks back

                                                                                    I’m just ... thank you🙏🏽🤩🥰

                                                                                    • Christopher S. Lucas
                                                                                      Christopher S. Lucas  4 weeks back

                                                                                      The quality of ATHLEAN-X content is superior. Very well done.

                                                                                      • V Ling
                                                                                        V Ling  4 weeks back

                                                                                        Excellent!