Push-up Anatomy: 4 Common Push-up Mistakes & How To Avoid

Push-ups are one of the best exercises for developing upper-body strength and muscle.

Written by: Ishaan Arora Updated at: 2023-03-20 10:00

If you've ever played sports or gone to the gym, you're probably familiar with the power of push-ups. Push-ups are useful for warming up, muscle gain, and cooling down. The best thing about push-ups is that they are a bodyweight exercise, which means you can do them anywhere, whether on vacation, in your living room, or at a commercial park. Despite its effectiveness, many people are unable to reap the full benefits of this simple bodyweight exercise because they perform it incorrectly. So, if you're new to bodyweight workouts or looking to gain strength, let's start by learning about the anatomy of push-up, common mistakes, and how to avoid making them.

Push-up Anatomy

The majority of people believe that push-ups are simply a bodyweight exercise that targets the chest. However, push-ups are compound exercises, which means they work more than two muscles at the same time. When you do a push-up, you work all your push muscles, including your chest, shoulders, and triceps. Your abs, obliques, and rear delts are the secondary muscles that work. So when you perform a push-up, your goal should be to push from the big two muscles: chest and shoulder, to reap the most benefits.

Common Push-up Mistakes To Avoid

Wide Stance

The goal of push-ups should be to involve the working of your push muscles, and when you perform with a wide stance, the back muscles come into play, and the effectiveness of push-ups decreases. The proper way to perform push-ups is to keep your hands shoulder-width apart. This way, you will work the right muscles, and your chances of getting an injury will also reduce.

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Unstable Hips

While performing a push-up, your body should be aligned, which means it should be in line from top to bottom. Where most people go wrong is that they either drop their hips too low or raise them too high, and instead of working push muscles, their lower back and glutes come into play. So, the next time you do push-ups, make sure your body posture is correct, and you feel burn in the right muscles.

Performing Cheat Reps

Cheat reps are when you perform half push-ups, which means you go down to execute the movement but only come up halfway and do not extend your arms. Half reps have their own advantages, but you will not be able to build upper body strength in the long run. The right way is that when you come up, your arm should fully extend; it should open like when you start with open arms.

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Going Too Fast

If you've been doing push-ups for a while and haven't noticed any improvement in your chest and upper body strength, you're probably doing them too quickly. When you execute a movement too quickly, the muscle remains under tension for a short period of time, which means the failure does not occur, and the muscle does not break. To grow a muscle, it must first be broken, which occurs when you train it with full intensity and with each rep, the movement should sound difficult to you. So, the next time you perform, make sure to go slowly in the movement. It's okay if your reps decrease because going slowly allows you to maximise calorie burn while also activating new muscle fibres.

Image Credit: Freepik


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