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How To Do The BEST Pushup Possible - A Progression by Mind Map: How To Do The BEST Pushup
Possible - A Progression
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How To Do The BEST Pushup Possible - A Progression

Common mistakes

Butt too high

Typically this happens when the shoulders move behind the wrists

FIX: Keep shoulders over wrists... film yourself so you can see what you look like.

Butt too low

Typically this happens because of an disengaged core and legs

Also your core may be too weak.

FIX: Pretend you're doing a hollow hold upside down to crunch abs. Squeeze your legs together as if you were holding a piece of paper between them. Do more hollow holds and planks to strengthen your core.

FIX: Put a foam roller or some type of object under your thighs. Then do a full pushup and don't let your thighs hit it. Yes, your butt stays high but this is what you need to feel at this point., Part 1, Part 2

Arched back

Core is not engaged., Example 1, Example 2

FIX: Crunch your abs together. And keep practicing hollow hold and plank to make your core stronger.

Shoulders collapsing

Your not rotating your arms out. Your not engaging and pushing through your shoulders.

FIX: Imagine pushing the earth away rather than pushing yourself up.

Head down

Head goes down, This is very common and it will get better over time. I tell my clients to pick a spot two feet in front of their hands and star at that. It will help keep your head up.

Elbows out

Externally rotate your arms., Example 1 - Elbows Out, Example 2 - Elbows Out, Example 1 - Elbows In, Example 2 - Elbows Out

Practice makes perfect.

This doesn't produce power. Think about how you would push a large dumpster. You wouldn't go with your arms wide. You would spread your force thin... losing power. You would keep them close to your body and focus your power., No Power, POWER!


Main Progression

How to proceed, Progress when things get easy. Move to the next "level" when things get easy. But listen for common issues like your back arching... or your shoulders collapsing., Before you go to the next "level" take a video of your pushup and make sure it looks good. Video can give you that Ah Ha moment for real breakthroughs., Keep working on your core strength. You will need this the lower you get to the floor.

Wall Pushups

Table Pushups

Chair Pushups

Step Pushups, I don't have a video of this one. But you just want to keep lowering your upper body to get close and closer to the floor.

Floor Pushups


Suspension system, If you have access, this can help you move closer to the ground in smaller chunks. Plus it helps to utilize smaller stabilizer muscles which is a good bonus!

Floor presses with a dumbell or kettlebell, Dumbbell, Dumbbell Step 1, Dumbbell Step 2, Kettlebell, Kettlebell Step 1, Kettlebell Step 2, Pressing a weight will help to develop the same motion you are going to use for your pushup. I use these presses to burn my muscles out and with negatives. See below.

Negatives, No weight negative pushups, Add weight to develop more strength, Push the ground together, If you feel like you're trying to push the ground together under your hands, you'll find your arms, chest, and shoulders fully engage. This makes doing negatives easier because you're using all available muscle.

Weighted pushups, When you get stuck in a plateau, start to do some weighted pushups. If you can get strong with a weight on your back, then doing bodyweight will be much easier.

No Knees, You can't engage your core, legs, or butt, It takes longer to improve, But it is good practice for your elbows coming in, Part 1, Part 2

Good plank form

Elbows externally rotating

Not what you want.

This is what you want., This helps to engage your shoulders and puts you in position to keep your elbows close to your body as you lower yourself.

Shoulders engaged

Not engaged, When your shoulders are not engaged, you can feel your entire body lose it's structure.

Fully engaged

Scapular Pushups

Core flat as if hollow hold

Flat back and engaged core

When you don't... everything falls apart

Locked legs

Legs squeezed together

Pretend you are squeezing a piece of paper together between your legs. This keeps them fully engaged.

Shoulders over wrists

Here's what it looks like

This is why you want to do those wrist stretches. Your shoulders will stay over your wrists the entire time.

Straight body down and up

Straight body

Look at the mistakes to see where you don't want to be.

Pushup Warmup

Wrist stretches

Forward Pulses, Pulse your shoulders as far over your fingers as you can. Make sure you keep your arms straight., Don't go too far because you can strain your wrist. Just go far enough to feel a stretch.

Backward Pulses, Place your fingers towards knees and sit your butt back to your heels. Pulse in and out of this stretch., Again, don't go too far. Listen to your arms.

Reverse Pulses, Be careful because this can be tough on your wrists at first., You will pulse your butt towards your heels with this strength too. You are working towards keeping your arms straight. Don't be surprised if you can't get your arms straight. Just listen to your body.

Why do these wrist stretches? You may experience wrist pain while doing planks and pushups. Weak and tight wrists are very very common. These stretches restore length to your forearms muscles and relieve pressure in your wrists. Do them consistently and you will experience zero pain.

Hold perfect plank

Keep holding the perfect plank to strengthen your core and arms. Work to hold it for 2 minutes straight.

Take pictures of yourself so you can see your body positions and correct from there.

I wanted to reiterate why you need to strengthen your core. If you can only do one or two pushups before you collapse, it's because your core is not strong enough. Do some planks and hollow holds daily to strength your core.

Hold a hollow hold

This is one of the best core exercises. Keep practicing this and your core will be seriously strong.

Next Steps

Practice your pushups everyday.

Practice with good workouts. I have a great options for you. My 7 Day Total Breakthrough Challenge

Click above and you can learn more about this mini program. It's a great introduction to my style of fitness.