Five Steps to Perfect Push-Up Form | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Improve Your Bench Press With Perfect Push-Up Form

May 16, 2012

Must See Strength Training Videos

The first question you probably get asked in the weight room is, "How much do you Bench?" More important questions might be asked later on, but the fact remains that strong, powerful athletes are good at the Bench Press.

Elite high school athletes should be able to Bench Press at least 1.5 times their body weight (300 pounds for a 200-pound athlete, 225 for a 150-pound athlete). So, how can you bench 1.5 times your bodyweight? It's as simple as learning how to do a Push-Up the right way.

Perfect Push-Up Form

1. Straighten Back and Neck
One of the biggest benefits of Push-Ups is how they strengthen the core. Build a stronger core through your Push-Ups by eliminating any arch in your back (up or down) and maintaining a perfectly straight neck and back. An easy way to make sure you have perfect Push-Up form is to place a dowel rod straight down your spine. The rod should contact your body at three points: the back of your head, your upper back (between your shoulder blades) and your hips. It’s OK to have a space between the dowel rod and your lower back, but the space should not be bigger than the thickness of your hand.

Push-Up Form

2. Tighten Glutes
Squeezing your glutes throughout the Push-Up activates your core and eliminates any arch remaining in your lower back. Learning to squeeze the glutes will pay off as you start increasing your Bench Press, since lifting heavy weights requires total body activation.

Push-Up Anterior Tilt

Poor Form

Push-Up Posterior Tilt

Proper Glute Activation

3. Tuck Elbows
When you set up for a Push-Up, your hands should be directly under your shoulders, and your elbows should be pointed at an angle away from your body. Many people mistakenly position their hands in front of their shoulders and flare their elbows out (a T position). The correct position is an arrow, in which the elbows go back. By tucking your elbows, you are able to engage your triceps and pec muscles to a greater degree than you would in the T position.

T Push-Up

Improper T Push-Up Form

Arrow Push-Up Form

Proper Arrow Push-Up Form

4. Squeeze Shoulder Blades
By squeezing your shoulder blades together, you protect your shoulder joints from damage and ensure your upper back is functioning properly. Squeezing shoulder blades translates well to the Bench Press since this action provides a stable platform from which you can press.

5. Finish Every Rep
One of the most common Push-Up mistakes athletes make is failing to perform a full range of motion. Touch your chest to the ground at the bottom of every Push-Up and fully extend your elbows at the top. Don’t let your ego get in the way. If you can’t do Push-Ups all the way to the ground, elevate your hands to a bench or a rack bar and try again. After a couple of weeks of practicing elevated Push-Ups, you’ll be able to get to the ground with no problem.

When you start doing Push-Ups the proper way, you’ll probably be surprised at how few you can do. That’s OK. By performing Push-Ups the right way, you’ll develop the strength necessary to improve your Bench Press and become a beast in the weight room.

Check out several Push-Up variations to further build strength and power.

Wil Fleming
- Wil Fleming is the owner of Force Fitness in Bloomington, Ind. During the past two years, he has helped more than 15 athletes go on...
Wil Fleming
- Wil Fleming is the owner of Force Fitness in Bloomington, Ind. During the past two years, he has helped more than 15 athletes go on...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

The Total-Body, Crunch-Free Ab Workout

Crunches, sit-ups, leg-lifts, and more crunches; everyone wants a good ab workout. A quick internet search will turn up countless crunching, curling,...

5 More Exercises Only Elite Athletes Can Conquer

The 14 Best Exercises From 2014

10-Minute Ab Workout You Can Do Anywhere

Why One Bench Press Is Not Enough

The Turkish Get-Up for Youth Athletes

Get More Explosive With James Harden's Workout

Female Athletes: 4 Ways to Test if Your Knees Are Durable

Notice On-Court Results With This Basketball Core Workout

3 Tips to Maximize Your Off-Season Baseball Training

Medicine Ball Training for Hockey Players

Why Do So Many Exercises Have Foreign Names

Basketball In-Season Battle Rope Complexes, Part 1

Build Powerful Pecs With This Multi-Angle Chest Workout

7 Exercises That Safely Build Shoulder Strength

Improve Your Strength for Track & Field Success

The 7 Best Slide Board Exercises

Get Tougher With Skylar Diggins' Bodyweight Workout

Improve Your Back Strength with the Inverted Row

Strengthen Your Core With Advanced Plate Push-Outs

3 Sandbag Training Mistakes Athletes Make

5 Isolation Exercises Your Workout Is Missing

Off-Season Baseball Exercises for Your Shoulders

4 Ways to Get a Jacked Back

Bilateral or Unilateral Exercises: Which Are Better?

Demolish Your Delts With This Super Shoulder Training Strategy

The Upper-Body Endurance Combo Workout

3D Triceps Workout: 3 Exercises for Huge Arms

Don't Train Your Arms Until You Can Do These 4 Things

Game Changer: Should You Be Using Machines or Free Weights?

Get a Ripped Core With 6 Advanced Dead Bug Variations

Baseball Workout for Power Hitting

Build Explosive Hips to Jump Higher

Why the Dead Bug Is Changing Core Training

How to Train During Your Hockey Season

Kettlebell Swing vs. Olympic Lifting: Which Is Better?

7 Strategies for Dealing With a Meathead in Your Gym

Female Athletes: Get Strong, Not Bulky, With These Workouts

4 Strength Exercises for Female Athletes

Do Your First Pull-Up With This Simple Workout. Guaranteed.

3 Explosive Exercises Designed to Increase Pitching Power

Break Through Plateaus With the 1-10 Drop Set Method

The Simplest Bodyweight Workout Ever

James Harrison's Physioball Side-to-Side Bridge

Developing Pre-Pull Tension for a Monster Deadlift