How to Do a Proper Push-Up

With a focus on good form, you’ll tone up your arms while preventing shoulder injuries.
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Time and time again, my female clients have told me that they are afraid of doing push-ups because it’s a chest exercise. I get it. I used to worry that if I did too many chest exercises, I’d lose my boobs — and I don’t have much to spare!

Warrior Shred coach Angela Gargano

Warrior Shred coach Angela Gargano

Well, I’m here to tell you not to be scared of push-ups, ladies. If anything, building more chest muscles will help lift your boobs. And it’ll definitely tone up your arms. Plus, if you’re doing a lot of hanging (like with pull-ups), it’s important to do pushing exercises so that your shoulders don’t roll forward and you don’t get injured.

The most important thing to watch for when doing push-ups is proper form — good form will help you make the most of your workout.

Here’s how to do a proper push-up:

  1. Keep your arms at 45 degrees. You do not want them flat-out horizontal, which could lead to shoulder injuries and also won’t work your chest as well.
  2. Flat back. Make sure that during your push-up, your entire body goes down at once — you don’t want your chest or your hips to lead. Keep yourself level and even.
  3. Knees, if needed. If a traditional push-up is too difficult, then start on your knees. When dropping to your knees, make sure you start in a nice plank position, then drop your knees right where you are.

Push-Up + Plank Hold Strength Builder

Set a clock for one minute. Hold a plank on your hands. Every 15 seconds, do one push-up, focusing on form, keeping your core nice and tight. Again, you can do this on your knees, if needed. Take a one-minute break and then repeat this five times.

Are you ready to transform your workouts, crush your fitness goals and get shredded? Check out our new eight-week Warrior Shred program, which requires such minimal equipment that it can be completed entirely at home. Designed exclusively for Oxygen— by three-time American Ninja Warriorcompetitor, fitness model, FAP fitness competitor, certified personal trainer and former NCAA gymnast Angela Gargano — you’ll build strength and endurance while working your way up to Warrior Week, where you will prove just how far you’ve come. Plus, you’ll be entered into a grand-prize draw for Angela’s Awesome Fitness Adventure. So what are you waiting for? Join Warrior Shred today!

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