How To Do a Correct Pushup

By Matt Vrabel 5 years ago

The pushup is a tremendous upper body pushing exercise.  It’s an exercise that is very popular and very effective at building good upper body strength, scapular stability and core stability.  One common theme I see with a lot of my athletes, especially younger athletes, is they cannot do a proper pushup.

Today I want to discuss some of the common flaws that I see with athletes’ pushup form.  (Note: if your more of a visual learner, scroll down to the end and watch the video)

1. Forward Head Posture

When athletes lack sufficient upper body strength, or adequate cuff control, they will often compensate by sticking their head forward.

pushup 1

The correction is to keep the neck in a neutral position so that the scapula can move in a full range of motion.  Make sure the neck is packed, so that there is a straight line from the back of the head all the way down the spine.

2. Excessive Lumbar Extension

This is the second common flaw that I see with a lot of athletes.  They lack proper core and trunk stiffness and will slip into anterior pelvic tilt or bend at their Thoracic-Lumbar Junction.

The correction is to teach the athlete what a neutral spine position feels like.  Make sure that the ribs are down and the pelvis is neutral before beginning the decent of the pushup.

3. 90/90 Elbow and Shoulder Position

This is the third mistake and most common of the pushup mistakes that I often see.  With this position, the elbows flare out to the side instead of staying at a nice 45-degree angle to the body.  This can actually cause more harm than good in athletes who perform pushups in this manor.

One cue I like to use, especially with some of my younger athletes, is to make the middle of the elbow face forward.  This usually works by bringing their elbows closer to the body as they descend down into the pushup.

Those are the biggest mistakes that I see with the pushup.  Next time you perform this fantastic exercise, keep in mind these flaws and how to correct them.

The Correct Pushup Form

pushup 4

  Athletic Training
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