Posted January 27, 2014

Fixing Your Pushup with 2 Simple Corrections

Every day in the gym, I have the opportunity to learn patience, acceptance, and the power of turning the other cheek. This wasn’t always the case. Once upon a time I would repeatedly want to slam my face through a brick wall after watching people do stuff with much less than mediocre technique. Stuff like this:

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Maybe being married and slightly older has mellowed me out, but I don’t get as worked up anymore when someone is doing something with less than ideal technique. I always think of what is working when someone does something differently, and then think of how they would need to adjust it to work a different aspect or shift back towards the goal of the exercise.

One example of an exercise that tends to get butchered on a regular basis is the good old pushup. It’s a staple in many programs, but most tend to turn in to neck or low back smashers from poor positioning and a lack of stability or alignment for the movement to be effective. I had one person say any time they did pushups, their neck would get sore. When I asked them to demonstrate, they wound up not bending their elbows at all and essentially doing a horizontal shrug with their shoulders, and their head almost touching the floor. Again, all with straight elbows.


His traps were pretty much the only thing doing the work, while also busting their respective asses to try to not have his head fall off or shoulders slide off his torso all together.

Some other people turn a pushup into more of a Saturday Night Special exercise where their arms and upper body do almost nothing and the hips tend to move the most.


You're doing it…..right??

You’re doing it…..right??

He’s breaking heart as well as hips.

Now there’s a lot of things that can go wrong with a pushup, but it essentially comes down to 3 main components, which I outlined in this short video tutorial:

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Essentially, the three things to consider to do a great pushup include:

  1. Flex your glutes
  2. flex your abs
  3. don’t let your chin hit the ground before your chest

These three simple cues tend to clean up a lot of the problems most people tend to run into regarding pushups, so give them a try and see what happens.

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