How to Do Push-Ups properly and Make Them More Effective

Garagegympower is reader-supported. When you purchase through links in our articles, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

How to Do Push-Ups properly and Make Them More Effective

You must know what push-ups are and how to do them even if you have been near a gym or considered working out.

It’s definitely one of the most simple exercises you can come across, yet it delivers great results for core and upper-body training.

However, the fact that push-ups are a simple exercise does not mean that there are some correct technique factors to keep in mind if you want your workouts to be as effective as possible.

Therefore it’s important that you do these simple exercises properly without damaging your muscles and actually putting in the effort to train your upper-body and core.

How to do push-ups

Push-ups are indeed a simple exercise, but there are still some simple things you need to keep in mind.

In addition to reading a description on how to properly do push-ups, we suggest you watch some video instructions where you can see every detail of the exercise.

Step 1

When doing the classic push-up place your hands on the ground shoulder-width.

Place your feet so that they are fully extended behind you straight out. You should feel that your thumbs are holding your feet up.

Get comfortable and find the best position for your hands, but at the beginning avoid going to wade or too close together with your hands.

Step 2

Start lowering your body while slowly bending your arms. Remember to keep your butt squeezed and core tight while going down.

How low should you go?

Different athletes and trainers have different opinions on this.

Some say that you should go down until your chest touches the ground. Others say that you should go down to the point where your arms are at a 90-degree angle.

We suggest you slowly go lower when you feel that your muscles can actually handle that without putting too much pressure on your elbows in order to avoid damaging them!

Step 3

When you feel you are in the position that is low enough for you, try to keep your body straight and use your arms to push back up until your arms are straight.

Repeat this move for as many times as you can and feel comfortable doing.

How NOT to do push-ups

In order to perform a push-up properly, it’s important that you think about avoiding some common mistakes.

Avoid damaging mistakes

These might seem like minor mistakes that change a lot, but the truth is that they take away the effectivity of the exercise and can put pressure on parts of your body that can be damaged.

So what are the most common mistakes when doing push-ups?


One of the most common mistakes is pushing your butt back up above your body. The pike position makes this exercise a bit easier, but the truth is that it puts more pressure on your shoulder while loosening the pressure on your core.

incorrect pushup

By doing this, the total benefit of the exercise is lost.

If regular push-ups are too hard for you to perform and you want to start Piking, try out doing the Inclined push-up.

Dropping your stomach

This is another common mistake between beginners and sometimes even experienced fitness enthusiasts.

The urge to drop the stomach comes when the push-up exercise is too hard for someone. But while dropping down your stomach you can seriously damage your lower back.

Again, the best thing to do is try out different variations of the push-up exercise.

Push-Up variations

To make this simple exercise more interesting and let more muscles do the work, you can try out different push-up variations.

Find the best variation

Some are better for beginners, while others are great for more experienced people. Look for the ones you like the most and you’ll find that these exercises form a good part of an overall body workout you want to create for yourself.

Wide-Arm Push-Up

To put in more work with pectoral muscles you might want to slightly adjust your hand positioning when doing push-ups.

The name of this variation speaks for itself and when positioning your hands you need to place them slightly wider than shoulder-width. How wide? It depends on how experienced you are and how much strength you have to complete the exercise.

Diamond Push-Up

The Diamond push-up variation is all about hand placement. This time, you need to place both of your hand almost together with your thumbs touching each other and the pointing fingers touching together underneath. This should form a diamond-like shape between your hands.

Do push-ups just like you are used to, but keep in mind that this variation might be a bit too rough for absolute beginners.

Also, have to mention that this is a great exercise for training your triceps.

Clapping Push-Up

This a more advanced version of the classic push-up which trains your arms and upper-body for more exploding strength.

The technique is fairly simple.

Position yourself in a classic push-up position and lower your body to the ground. In this push-up variation, your chest needs to go lower than usual.

When your chest is as close to ground as possible, explode upwards with full strength and let your arms off from the ground (keep your feet on the ground).

While your upper-body is in the air, clap both of your hands together quickly and return your hands to the ground in the classic position.

women pushup exercise

Be careful not to hit your head on the ground if you are not quick enough to get your hands back in the position on the ground.

Incline Push-Up

How is this variation different from a regular push-up?

The technique allows you to place your hand a surface that is elevated in comparison to the floor, where your legs are positioned. Everything else works the same way.

The idea behind this variation is to make push-ups easier. So we could say that these are great for beginners who want to slowly increase their strength in the upper-body.

Decline Push-Up

As you might have guessed, declined push-ups are the opposite of incline push-ups. This variation of push-ups is done by placing your feet on an elevated surface while keeping your arms on the ground.

This technique makes push-ups harder and is intended to put more strength into your upper-body and core. Of course, this is not the best variation to start off with for beginners.

If you have some suggestion on how to get more out of doing push-ups, leave a comment or contact us to tell us about your experience.