Corrective Exercise

Mastering the Pushup: Techniques and Tips for Improvement

June 5, 2024 R3 Coaching Team 0Comment

Pushups are a fundamental exercise that tests and builds upper body strength, engages the core, and can be performed virtually anywhere. However, many people struggle with performing pushups effectively. Whether you’re aiming to complete your first full pushup or looking to increase your repetitions, this guide by our R3 Fitness team will provide you with various techniques and exercises to help you master the pushup.

The Importance of Upper Body Strength

Upper body strength is crucial for daily activities, from lifting groceries to pushing open heavy doors. A strong upper body also supports good posture and reduces the risk of injuries, particularly in the shoulders and back. Pushups are an excellent way to build this essential strength, but they require practice and proper form.

Key Exercises to Improve Pushups

  1. Pushup Negatives Pushup negatives involve lowering yourself slowly from the top of a pushup position to the floor. This exercise focuses on the eccentric phase of the pushup, which helps build strength and control. Start in a plank position, lower your body slowly for a count of 5-10 seconds, and then return to the starting position. Repeat for several repetitions.
  1. Band-Assisted Pushups Using a resistance band can help you perform pushups with better form by reducing the amount of bodyweight you need to lift. Loop a resistance band around your back and hold the ends under your hands. As you lower and raise your body, the band will provide assistance, making it easier to complete each pushup. Gradually decrease the band’s resistance as you build strength.
  1. Incline Pushups Incline pushups involve performing pushups with your hands elevated on a bench, step, or sturdy surface. This variation reduces the load on your upper body, allowing you to focus on proper form and gradually build strength. As you become more comfortable, lower the incline to increase the challenge.

The Role of Core Strength

A strong core is essential for maintaining proper pushup form and maximizing efficiency. Core strengthening exercises, such as planks, help stabilize your body and prevent sagging or arching during pushups.

Planks Planks are a fantastic exercise for building core strength. Start in a forearm plank position with your elbows directly under your shoulders and your body in a straight line from head to heels. Hold this position for 20-30 seconds, gradually increasing the duration as you get stronger. Incorporate side planks to engage the obliques, further enhancing your core stability.

Understanding the Impact of Bodyweight

Bodyweight plays a significant role in the number of pushups you can perform. Heavier individuals may find pushups more challenging, while lighter individuals may find them easier. It’s important to focus on overall fitness and body composition, including strength training and cardiovascular exercise, to optimize your ability to perform pushups.

Everyday Benefits of Upper Body Strength

Improving your pushup performance has numerous benefits for daily life. Enhanced upper body strength makes it easier to perform everyday tasks such as carrying heavy objects, playing sports, and even maintaining good posture at a desk. Strong muscles also support joint health and can prevent injuries by ensuring that your body is balanced and resilient.


Improving your pushups requires a combination of targeted exercises, core strengthening, and understanding the influence of bodyweight. By incorporating pushup negatives, band-assisted pushups, and incline pushups into your routine, and by focusing on core stability through exercises like planks, you can enhance your pushup performance and enjoy the many benefits of upper body strength. Remember, consistency is key, and with dedication, you’ll see progress over time.


  1. Nuzzo, J. L., McCaulley, G. O., Cormie, P., Cavill, M. J., & McBride, J. M. (2008). Trunk muscle activity during stability ball and free weight exercises. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 22(1), 95-102.
  2. Youdas, J. W., Coleman, K. R., Holstad, D. J., Hallman, H. O., & Stiller, C. (2010). Comparative analysis of muscle activation levels during traditional push-up and perfect push-up exercises. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 24(12), 3352-3362.
  3. Schoenfeld, B. J., & Grgic, J. (2020). Effects of range of motion on muscle development during resistance training interventions: A systematic review. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 30(3), 1141-1151.

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