Three Common Push Up Mistakes





Three Common Push Up Mistakes

Three Common Push Up Mistakes

The push up is one of the most commonly performed body-weight exercises around, it is something that we’ve all been taught how to do. Either at school, or while playing sport. The exercise works the chest, shoulders, and triceps, and is one of the best upper body exercises out there. But sadly, a lot of people are performing push ups incorrectly. In this article we will identify three common push up mistakes and help you to rectify them immediately.

Mistake #1 Hand Placement

When you perform a push up, your hands should be directly below your shoulders. Often, people place their hands way out to the side. This not only makes the exercise a lot more difficult than it needs to be, but it can also lead to a shoulder injury.

You may find that your hands are a little wider than your shoulder width but try to keep them close to your body. A good way to think about push up position is to imagine you are about to throw a punch. You wouldn’t put your arms out to the side, would you?

Mistake #2 Elbow Placement

This next mistake is so tied up with the first mistake that we almost didn’t include it. But after thinking about it, we decided that the two mistakes can be mutually exclusive, and both need to be fixed ASAP! When performing a push up, many people tend to stick their elbows out wide. It is true that you do want them slightly flared, but nowhere near as wide as many people put them.



As you lower your chest to the floor, your elbows want to be almost (but not quite) brushing the sides of your torso. That is how narrow you want them! They can stick out a tiny bit (otherwise the exercise becomes too triceps dominant), but the wider they flare, the more strain you are putting on your shoulder.

Three Common Push Up Mistakes

Mistake #3 Poor Range of Motion

This is not so much a push up issue as it is an exercise issue. So many people don’t perform exercises properly. Often, this is either down to laziness or down to trying to show off! It is a lot easier to half-rep a 200-lb squat then it is to perform a 160-lb squat with a full range of motion.

The common push up mistake is to not lower your chest far enough down to the ground. To perform a proper push up, you want your chest to be so low to the ground that you can just about fit a clenched fist between your chest and the floor. Then you want to raise yourself back up to the starting position. This is one full push up.

Performing your push up with a full range of motion will reduce your risk of injury by taking a lot of strain off your joints. It will also lead to greater strength and size gains as a full range of motion will provide more muscle fiber stimulation, and greater muscle protein synthesis.

Three Common Push Up Mistakes

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