24 March, 2017

A bodyweight push up is one of the most effective functional exercises to enhance our upper body strength, and the best part is, you can do it anywhere. However, it can be a difficult exercise to master, as keeping that neutral spine throughout can be a challenge for most.

Starting Position:

The best way to start your push up is to make sure that you get the exact position required. To do this, lie on your stomach and place your hands directly under your arm pits. From here, move your hands away from your body by exactly one hand—this will give you a good base start position.

Coming up onto your toes:

You should try to imagine that you have a broom stick on your back, and that your head, upper thoracic (upper back) and top of the pelvis are all touching the broom stick with only a slight gap at your lumbar spine. This will give you your neutral spine, and will keep your arms directly in line with your shoulders.Pushups

Push Up Teaching Points

  • Begin in prone position on the floor with your arms slightly wider than shoulder width
  • Arms should be directly under the shoulder with soft elbows
  • Body in neutral position with even balance throughout both hands and toes
  • Concentric Phase – pushing through the palm of the hands and keeping neutral position. Contact the chest muscles and straighten the arms
  • Breathing out during the concentric phase
  • Eccentric phase – slowly lower your body by bending through the elbows and keeping neutral alignment until your chest is almost at the floor
  • Breathing in as you come down

Common Errors

  • Placing the arms forwards in line with the head rather than the shoulders, causing a weaker stance and putting a lot of pressure on the shoulders
  • Loosing alignment of neutral spine – increased lumber lordosis (sagging bum downwards) increased thoracic kyphosis (arching of the middle of the back)
  • Not moving through the elbows or bringing the chest to the ground, cause the neck to go forwards

Push Up Variations

Knee Push Up – same technique however on knees rather than toes.

Wall Push up – Use a wall as the base rather than on the ground.

Decline Push Up – Placing toes on a bench and hands on the ground.

Bosu Push Up – Placing your hands on a Bosu.

Push Up Clap – Plyometric movement adding in a clap when coming up through the concentric phase.


By taking one of our fitness courses, you’ll be able to learn a wide array of exercise techniques and a whole lot more!

Written by:

Sarah Cantle

  • Certificate III & IV in Fitness – Group Fitness & Personal Trainer
  • Certificate IV in Training and Assessment
  • Diploma of Management
  • Diploma of Remedial Massage & Rehab Trainer
  • Sarah has over 10 years’ experience in the industry and currently Lectures in Fitness

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