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Master Proper Push-Up Form: Learn Hand Release Push-Ups

Author: Mind Pump TVTime: 2024-01-25 14:35:01

Table of Contents

Introduction to Proper Push-Up Form

Welcome back to Mind Pump TV. In this blog post, I will be teaching you how to do a proper push-up. I will put a spin on the traditional push-up by teaching you the hand release push-up. I'll explain why this variation is effective and how it helps avoid common mistakes.

Doing push-ups with proper form is crucial to effectively work the chest muscles. However, many people make mistakes that prevent them from feeling the burn in their chest. By following the tips in this article, you'll learn how to do push-ups correctly.

Common Push-Up Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Shoulders Rolled Forward

One of the most common push-up mistakes is having the shoulders rolled forward in front of the body. This puts all the tension in the shoulders and arms rather than the chest. To fix this, do a hand release push-up. At the bottom of the push-up, lift your hands slightly off the floor. As you lift your hands, squeeze your shoulder blades together to retract them. This engages the upper back and shoulders in the proper position. Press back up through the floor with the shoulders retracted. Come all the way down and repeat the hand release to keep the shoulders back on each rep.

Arching Lower Back

Another mistake is arching the lower back excessively while doing push-ups. This puts pressure on the lumbar spine and disengages the core. To avoid arching, tighten your abdominal muscles to keep your core engaged as you lower down. Maintain tension in the abs throughout the entire push-up to keep a neutral spine.

Proper Hand Placement for Push-Ups

Where you place your hands affects which muscles are targeted most. Start in a kneeling push-up position with your hands at your sides. Bring them straight out to a 'T' position, then retract your shoulder blades back behind you.

Place your hands on the floor directly under your shoulders where they landed after the shoulder retraction. This lines up your joints for proper mechanics.

Your hands can be slightly outside shoulder-width apart. If you bring them in too narrow, triceps are emphasized more. But going too wide increases shoulder strain. Find a comfortable position for your shoulders to be the primary movers.

Maintain a Tight Core During Push-Ups

It's crucial to keep your core engaged during push-ups to support your spine in neutral alignment.

As you lower down into the push-up, tighten your abdominal muscles. Maintain this tension in your abs as you press back up to avoid excessive arching in the lower back.

The entire body must be stiff and stable during the push-up. Don't allow the midsection to sag at any point.

Regression Options for Mastering Push-Up Form

If you can't perform a full push-up with proper form, scale back the exercise by starting on your knees. This reduces the amount of bodyweight you have to lift.

Follow all the same form cues - hands slightly wider than shoulders, retract shoulders at bottom, tight core throughout. Lower down til your chest nearly touches the floor.

Master the mechanics on knee push-ups before progressing to full push-ups. Good form is more important than reps.


Doing push-ups properly is a learned skill that requires patience and practice. By focusing on shoulder retraction, core engagement, and controlled motion, you can master proper push-up form.

This will allow you to fully activate your chest muscles to build upper body strength. Keep practicing with these tips until push-ups feel natural in the correct body positioning.


Q: What are hand release push-ups?
A: Hand release push-ups involve lifting your hands off the floor at the bottom of the movement to engage the shoulder blades before pressing back up.

Q: Why teach hand release push-ups?
A: The hand release cue helps remind people to keep their shoulders retracted throughout the push-up instead of letting them roll forward.

Q: Where should you place your hands for push-ups?
A: Place your hands at shoulder width, in line with your chest. You can play with hand placement to target different upper body muscles.

Q: How do you maintain proper form during push-ups?
A: Keep your core braced, shoulder blades retracted, and avoid arching your lower back as you lower down and press back up.

Q: What if you can't do a full push-up yet?
A: Try push-up regressions like knee push-ups, incline push-ups, or wall push-ups to build strength until you can do full push-ups with proper form.

Q: How many push-ups should I do?
A: Focus on quality over quantity. Even if you can do many push-ups, make sure each rep has proper form to work the right muscles.

Q: Can push-ups build my chest?
A: Yes, when done with proper form, push-ups strongly work the chest muscles as a compound upper body exercise.

Q: Should my back arch during push-ups?
A: No, you want to keep your core engaged and spine neutral without excessive arching of the lower back.

Q: Can I change my hand position on push-ups?
A: Yes, you can play with width and angle of your hands to target different parts of the upper body like chest, shoulders, or triceps.

Q: Will push-ups help me get stronger?
A: Absolutely. Push-ups work multiple muscle groups at once, developing functional strength for daily life.