Pushups are meant to be a ‘moving plank’.  They are just as much a core and scapular control exercise as a chest builder.  They are hard to do correctly. They’re supposed to be.

Hand Positioning

Thumbs to armpits.  Fingers forward.

Arch to activate those shoulder stabilizers. 
flat, passive hand
Elbow Positioning

Incorrect.  Weakens torso tightness by flaring shoulder blades.
Torso Positioning

Correct.  Flat back and chin tucked.  Posteriorly tilt pelvis.
(Think about wrapping belly button around big ball on the ground)
Incorrect.  The Ski Slope.  All shoulders and back and no stomach.
Incorrect.  The Camel.  All upper back, shoulder, and hands.
Butt is elevated due to back arch.
How do you get to proper positioning?  Start at the bottom. 
Dig balls of feet into ground, tuck chin (nose to ground), posteriorly tilt pelvis.
You MUST drive feet down and tuck pelvis to tense torso.
If your feet don’t drive down your stomach has nothing to torque up against.

If you’re unable to remain unchanged on the way up, there are several options you can use to progress:
1.  Do your best to perfect top position and SLOWLY lower your way down to the start.  Don’t try to rep out.  Just do 3-5 perfect singles with adequate rest in between.
2.  Elevate your hands.  Gravity puts more weight in your feet.  You have to learn to use your feet as a lever, so staying long and elevating hands/torso tends to be a better learning tool than pushing up from your knees.
Rest chest against surface or bar.  Dig feet, tilt pelvis, and tuck chin.
Press up in one piece.
Keep active hands by stiffening (fingers up) and driving through thumb pads/ heel.

Do not wrap around corner or bar.  This will encourage elbow flair.

You can start at bottom or top on the elevateds. Whatever works best for you.  Think ‘pull’ yourself down to the ground.  Don’t ‘fall’ into the bottom position.  CONTROL your descent.

  • Thumbs in armpits
  • Arched/ active hands
  • Elbows at 45 degrees (same as bench! )
  • Level torso
  • Tuck/ posteriorly tilt that pelvis.  There should be no dip downs between low back and butt.
  • Start at the bottom to lock in finished form
  • Drive DOWN through balls of feet
  • Elevate hands to regress movement.  Once you’ve mastered a height, drop the hands a few inches until they reach the ground.  Starting with hands on a vertical wall is common.

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