- Position hands palms-down on the floor, approximately shoulder width apart. They should be about next to your shoulders, with your elbows pointed towards your toes.
- If you are on a relatively cushioned surface, such as a carpeted floor, you may also support yourself on your fists between the first and second knuckles for a greater challenge. If you are on a less forgiving surface, consider investing in some push-up grips, (they look like handles you put on the floor).
- Curl your toes upward (towards your head). The balls of your feet should touch the ground.
Raise yourself using your arms. At this point, your weight should be supported by your hands and the balls of your feet. Make a straight line from your head to your heels, and contract your abdominals to keep your hips from sagging. This position is called a “plank,” which is used for other various exercises. This is the beginning and the end position of a single push up.
Pick the type of push up that works best for you. There are actually three types of basic push up variations that use different muscles. The difference is where you place your hands while in the plank position. The closer your hands are together, the more you will engage your triceps. The wider apart they are, the more you will engage your chest.
- Regular: your hands should be slightly wider than your shoulders. This works both your arms and your chest.
- Diamond: put your hands close together in a diamond shape, keep them directly under your chest. This will require you to engage your arms much more than a standard push up.
- Wide-arm: place your hands a good way’s out from your shoulders. This version mostly works the chest and requires less strength in the arms.