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If you have been visiting our site for a while, you are probably already familiar with Army Physical Fitness and the requirements expected of you during your basic training. We have covered the basics of physical fitness involved in basic training previously, but now it is time to get specific about a fitness staple of Army life﹣the ever-dreaded push up.

Common Mistakes

Before we focus on perfecting your push ups, it is crucial to pinpoint any mistakes that you may currently be making. Improper form not only leaves you vulnerable to injury, it also reduces the effectiveness and calorie burn of this multitasking exercise. Review the items below, and make sure that you are not committing any of these push-up sins in your daily routine.

1. Improper AlignmentMany people tend to lower their chin when doing push ups. Keep your head and chin lifted! Dropping your chin puts pressure on your neck muscles and can lead to injuries. Try looking straight ahead instead of at the ground to avoid this common issue.

Be sure that your body is in a straight line throughout the entire push up, and avoid lifting your butt or sagging your back, which can strain your muscles.

2. Incorrect Hand & Arm Positioning: Most people tend to angle their arms outwards while doing push ups; however, it is important to keep your elbows close to your body, fully supporting your weight for a full range of motion.

Improper hand placement can also throw off your entire push up. If your hands are too far forward, you will strain your shoulders, and if they are angled in, your elbows will want to point outwards. Instead, focus on keeping you hands directly under your shoulders and your hands pointed slightly outward.

Proper Technique

Now that you know all of the things you may or may not be doing incorrectly, you can focus on proper push up technique. We have listed the steps to a proper push up below:

Step 1: Set yourself up for success.

Paying attention to the common mistakes detailed above, set up your push up paying special attention to your hand and arm positions and alignment﹣being sure to keep your body in a straight line.

Step 2: Get started!

Starting with your arms straight, slowly lower down while inhaling, stopping when your arms reach a 90-degree angle.

Step 3: Push it up!

Once you have reached this point (or the lowest point you can go at this stage of your training), exhale and push yourself directly up, focusing on maintaining your form, and never locking your elbows.

Step 4: Repeat, repeat, repeat!

Focusing on proper technique, do as many push ups in a row as you can before you start to fatigue and lose your good posture. Remember that it is better to do a few proper push ups than many push ups with improper form!

Now that you know the common mistakes and the proper techniques it’s time to get out there and practice﹣no excuses! Perfect your push ups today. Trust us, you will thank yourself when you get to basic training.