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How To Unlock Your Push Up Strength

Learn how to make the most of the strength you already have.


Take your push-ups to the next level with this handy guide from Jeremy Ethier, where the NASM and FMS certified trainer and Kinesiology graduate explains how to unlock your push up strength.

You will learn:


How To Unlock Your Push Up Strength

1 – Set Up

Hand placement

Two things should happen at the bottom of your push-up:

  1. Your forearms are on top of your wrists in a straight, vertical line
  2. Elbows tucked to 45 to 60-degree angle

This will help unlock many muscles that, in turn, can maximise your strength as you push, explains Ethier.

Source: Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels

2 – Stabilisation

Improve your push-up strength by avoiding energy leaks. How?

  • Push your knuckles down into the floor and spread your hands to create space between your fingers.
  • Slide your shoulders down and away from your ears to activate the lats.
  • Open your shoulder blades by pushing the floor away slightly.
  • Tuck your tailbone to stabilise your hips and squeeze your thighs really hard to fully extend the leg.

3 – Execution

Use your back muscles to “pull” yourself from the floor. Your body will travel forward slightly to do so to keep your elbows over the wrists.


Once your reach the bottom position, push away from the floor all the way to the top to open the shoulder blades again.

Maintain a straight line between your head, shoulders, hips and feet as you work through your reps.

4 – Modifications

If you can’t do more than 10 good push-ups in a row, you should think about modifying you training to build and increase your strength.

There are some good options:

  • Leg banded push-ups
  • Elevated push-ups

As your strength improves, lower the amount of assistance you receive.

Source: Dilan Hurtado

If you have mastered the push-up and can do 20+ reps clean, modifying the exercise to making it harder can be more effective for strength improvements. Try the following modifications:

  • Slow down the reps
  • Incorporate a 1 second pause at the bottom position
  • Banded push-ups

Read more: Perfect Chest Push-Up Workout for Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced Athletes

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