How to do a proper push up?

Diane, one of my superstar change makers, asked me recently if I could shoot a video of how to do a proper push up, so she could watch it and practice her technique.  I said, “sure!”.  I handed her my phone and here’s the video.


Starting Position

Lie down on the floor.

Place hands just outside of chest.

Fingers wide.

Go to Knees.

Sag head, then pack it (pull head back as far as possible with chin tucked into neutral neck alignment).

Sink shoulders, then press body away from floor rounding shoulder blades into armpits.

Turn elbows out, then, corkscrew elbows down towards your feet.

Go to high plank (up on your hands and feet).

Place Feet Together.

Place knees together.



Intentions are the thoughtfulness behind the exercise.  The added details, which takes a good exercise and makes it a great exercise.  Do these all at the same time.  Once all intentions are activated, do your push up.

Squeeze your feet or sneakers together.

Squeeze your knees together even if your knees don’t actually touch.

Tilt your pubic bone up, like your zipping up a zipper.

Squeeze your butt and tuck it.

Brace your abs.

Continue corkscrewing your elbows down.

Continue pressing as far away from the floor as possible.

Continue packing your head.

Claw the ground with your wide spread fingers.



Do PULL yourself down to the floor by tucking your elbows back 45 degrees from your body.

Don’t pull your elbows to your ribs, that’s a close grip push up and there’s nothing wrong with that, but we’re not doing that exercise right now.

Don’t let your elbows flare out to 90 degrees from your side.  That’s what most people do, and can cause impingement in some people.  It’s can be a good joint angle and exercise for some, but we’re also not doing that push up.

Do pull yourself down towards the floor.

Do pull your shoulder blades down from your armpits and in towards your midline.

In the bottom of the push up is where many people core gets challenged the most.

Do continue to squeeze your feet together.

Do continue to squeeze your knees together.

Do continue to tilt your pubic bone up.

Do continue to tuck your butt and squeeze it.

Do continue to brace your abs.

Do hold your breath for a moment.

Then press back up.

As you start to come up start blowing hard through pursed lips.

Do continue to keep your elbows corkscrewed.

Keep pressing and feel your shoulder blades rotate from down and in, to up and out towards your armpits.

Do continue to keep your head packed.  Don’t look up or sag your head.

Do press until your arms are fully straight and your pressed as far away from the floor as can be.

That’s one rep.

Now do it again!

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