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 • 2 570

    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  6 days 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?

  • Edward Ejiofor
    Edward Ejiofor  4 hours back

    The only thing i learnt was that Pushups are same as Bench press. I can imagine that when next I'm pushing up.

    • Fit from Fat
      Fit from Fat  17 hours back

      Thanks Jeff! I just lost 40lbs and can finally do press-ups after increasing my Bench.. and this has been a great help!

      • FlamesTube
        FlamesTube  1 days back


        • Bonnie Tomlinson
          Bonnie Tomlinson  1 days back

          THANK YOU! I hear so much conflicting advise on so many moves, including push-ups. I always check to see if Jeff has weighed in and he usually HAS. Thanks for clarifying yet again, Jeff!

          • Shekhar Sajwan
            Shekhar Sajwan  1 days back

            This info is gold !

            • NOT kd
              NOT kd  2 days back

              i'm currently breathing into my balls

              • Matt Bell
                Matt Bell  2 days back

                Glutes: A C T I V A T E D

                • STVNT RBE
                  STVNT RBE  3 days back

                  Thank You, I’m 14 and I’ve been having forearm pain, near the elbow . It might have been my form. I’ve started using these tips and already feel less and less pain.

                  • BananaBandit
                    BananaBandit  3 days back

                    Just trying to find the difference in the thumbnail😂😂😂

                    • yhfsywfit
                      yhfsywfit  3 days back

                      Just a tremendous amount of information in this video.

                      • Jim Tamim
                        Jim Tamim  3 days back

                        Man thanks for the video. Just start my fitness routine. Hope i can get fit like u since Im a thin dude.

                        • It's Me, Steve
                          It's Me, Steve  3 days back

                          The thumbnail is the exact same photos.

                          • lucky
                            lucky  4 days back


                            • Nohara family
                              Nohara family  4 days back

                              Video is sponsored by Puma gym pants👈😆

                              • Phil D12
                                Phil D12  4 days back

                                Yup I’m doing it wrong

                                • suit#1
                                  suit#1  5 days back

                                  the two photos in the thumbnail are the same picture....

                                  • 1811boredinlex
                                    1811boredinlex  5 days back

                                    Very helpful

                                    • Mike Wenmar Payo
                                      Mike Wenmar Payo  6 days back

                                      The pictures in the thumbnail are the same lmao

                                      • WhiteMale
                                        WhiteMale  7 days back

                                        Bouncing of the ground, thats my style!

                                        • link ravenwood
                                          link ravenwood  1 weeks back

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

                                          • jingledell1
                                            jingledell1  1 weeks back

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

                                            • Lela Smith
                                              Lela Smith  1 weeks back

                                              For every like ill do a push up

                                              • Gerry Her
                                                Gerry Her  2 weeks back

                                                5:03 You learned that from Nacho Libre huh lolol

                                                • Spencer BURKHART
                                                  Spencer BURKHART  2 weeks 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  2 weeks back

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

                                                    • Samuel Goodwin
                                                      Samuel Goodwin  2 weeks back

                                                      Thank you! This is extremely helpful!

                                                      • Chris Marklowitz
                                                        Chris Marklowitz  2 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  2 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  2 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.  2 weeks back

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

                                                              • Yv Rohit
                                                                Yv Rohit  2 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  3 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  3 weeks back

                                                                      This video is a proper bench press guide in disguise

                                                                      • All Seeing Eye
                                                                        All Seeing Eye  3 weeks back

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

                                                                        • Teo Garner
                                                                          Teo Garner  3 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  3 weeks back

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

                                                                            • Kory Zapatka
                                                                              Kory Zapatka  3 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  3 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  3 weeks back

                                                                                  thank you

                                                                                  • Romaine Smith
                                                                                    Romaine Smith  3 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  3 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  3 weeks back

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

                                                                                        • AFLYINGDUCKY
                                                                                          AFLYINGDUCKY  3 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