How to do a pushup

Get Started!

  • Lie in a prone position (belly down) on your mat, ground, or floor.

Get in Position

  • Position your hands shoulder-width apart, fingers facing forward or slightly inward.
  • Position your feet hip-distance apart with the tips of toes facing the ground.

Lift off

  • Lift your entire body off the floor so that your weight is supported evenly from head to toe.
  • Push your arms to full extension, keeping your elbows soft and not locked.
  • Contract your core muscles, glutes and quads to keep them braced.
  • Pull your shoulders away from your ears.
  • Keep your head, neck and spine in alignment.

Going Down

  • Slowly lower your body towards the floor while maintaining a stiff torso and head aligned with your spine.
  • Eyes toward the floor; avoid bending your head (we promise, you can look at your shoes later!)
  • Maintain head to toe alignment (no sagging of the back or hips)
  • Lower chest to elbow height.

Going Up

  • Push through the heels of hands to lift body weight upward.
  • Continue to maintain head to toe alignment.
  • Push your arms back to full extension, keeping your elbows soft and not locked.
Down Phase Pushup on Toes


How many can you put into your daily goal? Always remember, form first. Don’t try to hammer out a high number before you have your form down.


To build strength and practice form, try slow pushups. Count 4 down, and 4 up. Then, mix up the tempos: count 2 down, 2 up, or 1 down and three up. It will add some variety in the mix.


You might think you can’t do a pushup. But there are many ways to modify!

Feet shoulder-width apart

If you struggle to maintain head to toe alignment, put your feet shoulder-width apart instead of hip-width. Each session, try to put your feet in closer.

Wall Pushups

If you have shoulder issues, or simply can’t lift your body weight, try a wall pushup. Put your hands shoulder-width apart on the wall and your feet out slightly so that your body is at a slight angle. Slowly lower your body toward the wall, and push it back using all the techniques applied to a regular pushup.

Kneeling Pushups

Put your body in a hands and knee position on the floor. Maintain head to toe alignment and ease your upper body toward the floor, stopping chest at elbow height. This works well if you are new to bodyweight exercises and are not ready to lift your full body weight. When you’re ready, you can move to pushups on your knees.

Up Phase Pushup on Knees
Down Phase Pushup on Knees

Knee Pushups

From prone position, put your hands shoulder-width apart. Keep your feet hip-distance, and lift up to a full arm extension while keeping your knees, shins, and feet parallel to the ground. Once you have this mastered, increase the distance between your upper body and your knees by moving your knees backward. This will increase the amount of bodyweight you will bear going up and down. Then, mix in a few pushups on your toes. Before you know it, you’ll develop the strength to do whole sets of pushups on your toes.

Advanced Stability Ball Pushups

Put your feet on the top of the ball and follow the move through. For more work, place the front of your ankles over the ball. For less work, move the ball to your shin area.

Smart Stability Ball plank on ball

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