3 Biggest Push Up Mistakes + How to Fix Them!

3 Biggest Push Up Mistakes + How to Fix Them!

Push ups!

I’ve been training for sports since I was 8 years old, so learning how to do push ups at a young age was sort of a mandatory thing. Other girls got their ears pierced. I did push ups.

(Don’t worry I wasn’t one of those crazy looking jacked children with an 8 pack and a father screaming in my face to run faster. I just, could do, push ups).

Actually, looking back on my push up form 4 years ago vs now, the difference is quite obvious. It’s not like they were terrible, they just weren’t PERFECT. And I love perfect.

As a group fitness instructor, I see people working out all the time. I see their form, I see where they may or may not be lacking strength, and what they can do to fix it.

One of the exercises that has THE most issues with it, even in people that have been working out for a long time, is (dun, dunna, duuuuh) THE PUSH UP.

Out of all the hundreds of people that come and go through my classes, I think i’ve seen 5 people come in and do a push up correctly the first time. I’m not at all bashing those other people – like I said – my OWN push ups were not that great until a few years ago. But once you think you’re doing a push up correctly, and no one is there to correct you, you just keep doing it the same way. (Also another reason why I LOVE to film my own workouts).

Since so many of you guys asked for it, i’m going to break down the 3 biggest push up mistakes that I see ALL the time, and how you can fix them!

3 Biggest Push Up Mistakes

1. Squeezing Shoulder Blades on the Downward/Eccentric Motion

Push Up Mistakes

This one is sooo common, and once you’ve been doing it like this for years, it’s tough to change. However, it’s stems from lack of strength in your triceps. Triceps get ignored guys! Those poor guys! How often do you train your triceps?

As you can see, instead of bending at the elbows to bring my chest to the ground, i’m retracting my shoulder blades. Since you’re technically getting lower towards the ground, you think that this is correct, but as you can see, my elbows are hardly bending! Your elbows need to be getting to 90 degrees and the tip of your nose should be TAP the ground, oh so gently.


As I said, this is a tricep weakness – they don’t have the strength to hold your body weight and allow yourself to bend to a full 90 degrees. What you should be doing is training those triceps at least once a week so they can develop and get stronger!

I recognized that triceps are one of those muscle groups that get neglected, which is why I dedicate the last portion of our Back & Triceps day in 30 Days to Fit to – training triceps! In less than 3 weeks, people have already noticed a HUGE difference in their push up form and it’s SO EXCITING.

My 2 favorite tricep exercises:

1. Overhead banded extension

2. Tricep dip with pulse

Add these two exercises in at least once a week: 3 sets for 10-15 reps. You will DEFINITELY start to notice a difference.

2. Not Coming Up In One Line (upper back lifts first, then hips)

Push Up Mistakes

Another one that I see time and time again – usually the person is able to get down pretty well (90 degrees in their elbows, body in one straight line) and I get excited!

Then they push themselves up in two movements – first their upper back lifts. Then they raise their hips up to align with the rest of their body. The reason this happens, is because it is obviously a whole lot easier for your arms to push up only 1/4 of your body, than your full body. This is also a core strength issue – if your core is weak, it won’t be able to maintain that straight line from your neck to the bottom of your spine.


One of the most effective ways to fix this is to strengthen the transverse abdominus muscle – the muscle that gives your spine stability and helps to maintain good posture!

My two favorite core exercises are:

1. Dead bug

2. Forearm march

Push Up Mistakes

Same as the above, add these in once a week for 10-15 reps, 3 sets.

3. Not Achieving Full Range of Motion

Push Up Mistakes

Andddd the final biggest mistake that I see people make – not going all the way down, and instead, performing little push up pulses at the top of the movement with their elbows super wide.

This mistake happens a lot in group classes, because everything thinks that they need to get as many reps in as possible – however, just because a class is high intensity doesn’t mean you need to let your form deteriorate!

This fault stems from a lack of strength in the pec major (your chest), and the desire to go as fast as you possibly can. Don’t let that be you! Chill out for a sec, think about the movement, and do it properly. You’re not racing anyone.


My two go-to exercises to fix this fault is the eccentric push up and the incline push up. For the eccentric push up, you are going down as slowly as you can, while keeping your torso in a FLAT LINE. Let your chest and thighs touch the ground at the same time, and then reset to the starting position (you dont need to push up from the bottom, get up whichever way you need to).

1. Eccentric Push Ups

Push Up Mistakes

2. Incline Push Ups

Push Up Mistakes

Add these in for 2 sets of 8-10 reps, once a week!

If you are looking to increase your upper body strength while staying lean, 30 Days To Fit is the BEST program for you! Each day is divided so you develop strength all over, INCLUDING achieving the perfect push up and working on your pull ups!
This 30 day program gives you 22 gym workouts, 4 meal prep recipes, 4 wellness information sessions, as well as cool down & warm up routines. You also get access to an exclusive Facebook support group and daily challenges to stay on track.


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As a group fitness instructor, I see the push up completed incorrectly almost every day! Here are the 3 most common Push Up Mistakes that I see, as well as how you can fix them. It's all about developing that pec, tricep and core strength!

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