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The pushup. It's the do-anywhere, do-everywhere, no-excuses exercise that we’ve been asked to do since grade school. There's no better movement to add to any of your at-home workouts (check some of our favorite workouts here!). Arms, shoulders, chest, abs, and glutes are all engaged and firing at every step of the movement. Because the pushup employs so many key muscles, it's even more important to do it with a correct form. Poor form can lead to you not being to get the most out of your workout and, at worst, injury (shoulder impingement, wrist/elbow injuries, etc.). 

To make sure you do the perfect push-up every time, run through this quick checklist: 

  1. Maintain a High Plank Form: The ideal starting position. Have your hands stacked directly beneath (or slightly wider than) your shoulders and your feet. True to the name, your back should be as flat as a plank. Additionally, your head and neck should be in a neutral position. The goal is to maintain this line as you move through the movement. 

  2. Engage Your Core and Glutes: In your plank form, brace your core and contract your glutes, driving your feet into the ground with force. This allows you to enlist some of the strongest muscles in your body in this exercise and gives you the leverage to push up.

  3. Keep Shoulders Down and Back: At the top of the position in your high plank, your shoulder should be un-shrugged (down + back). As you lower down your pushup, retract your shoulder blades. Creating this tension will give you more leverage to push off the floor and allow you to engage your lats. 

  4. Aim for 45-Degree Elbow Placement: As you lower down, your elbows should create a 45° angle away from your body. If your elbows are out to the side in a T position (which would be 90°), you compromise your shoulder blade mechanics and risk shoulder impingement/damage. 

These adjustments may time to feel natural, but remember quality over quantity! Incorporating these tips will not keep you from getting injured, they’ll help you get the most out of every rep, making you stronger, fitter, and better.


Mike Wang is a lover of all things fitness. He is an avid backpacker, former varsity rower, and weekend warrior. As a self-proclaimed hype-man, he strives to elevate everyone around him. To see more from Mike, follow him on Instagram: @mikewwang

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