THE PERFECT PUSH-UP
THE SET UP
Your hands should be positioned slightly wider than shoulder-distance apart, directly under the middle of your chest. They can be angled however is most comfortable for you.
Your feet position must also be comfortable for you - shoulder-width apart or together. A wider stance means more stability. Balance on the balls of your feet.
Your body must be parallel to the ground with hips in line with your torso. This means one straight line from head to heels. Tighten your core/abdominals and clench your butt muscles to help maintain the line.
Your head should be looking ahead, not up or down. Your neck should be straight and in line with your back.
Your shoulders should be back and away from your ears, as this position works the chest and not the triceps.
Your arms are straight at the top of the push-up before beginning the descent.
Brace your core and steadily lower your body until your elbows reach a 90-degree angle or less. The angle will depend on your flexibility and strength, so aim for 90 degrees first.
Your elbows remain close to your body, not pushing outwards.
At the bottom of the push-up, push the floor away with your hands and raise yourself again.
Maintain a controlled descent and push up with force. This properly engages the muscles throughout the entire movement.
Repeat the exercise until you feel your form deteriorating. It's better to complete five good push-ups with proper technique than two good ones and eight bad ones.
On your knees: This uses the same technique as described above. Instead of balancing on the balls of your feet, however, drop down to your knees.
Wall/incline push-up: This uses the same technique as described above, but you will be standing facing a wall and angling yourself away from the wall.
Elevated push-up: Place your hands on an elevated surface like a bench, blocks or a table. Then follow the same technique as described above. Once these feel easy, move to your knees or to the regular push-up position.
COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID
Don't let your body sag downwards through your stomach. Keep your abdominals braced to maintain a straight line and protect your lower back.
Don't lift your butt into the air (like a camel's hump), remembering to keep the body straight with hips and torso aligned. This helps avoid unnecessary pressure on your shoulders.
THE LAZY DROP
Make sure you drop your body low enough, aiming for at least a 90-degree angle in your elbows. If this is too difficult on your toes, then choose one of the easier options to build up your strength.