The Right Way to Do Pushups to Build Muscle and Avoid Injury

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The pushup is probably the most popular bodyweight exercise. Even if everyone can’t do very many, everyone knows what it is.

We’re gonna show you 5 pushup variations that will help you build muscle and avoid injury.

Regular pushup

To start off we’re going to cover the regular pushup. This is the basic form people are most familiar with.

Tips on form:

  • Your hands should be a little more than shoulder width apart.

  • Keep your back straight

  • Your butt is clenched (to engage your core) without sticking up in the air

WARNING: Be careful to avoid allowing your elbows to flare out to the side. This can actually cause issues with your shoulder socket so keep those elbows in a neutral position.

Tricep pushup

This variation is barely noticeable, but it definitely activates your tricep muscles hardcore.

While you’re still pushing from your chest, you’re also pressing a lot from the tricep muscles.

Tips on form:

  • Bring elbows in tighter to your body

  • Chest and head are positioned slightly forward of hand placement to allow your body to come all the way down to the ground without flaring your elbows.

  • Remember: elbows out = bad

Divebomber pushup

The divebomber is as much fun as it sounds. The one we’re demonstrating here is the beginner version.

This is a little bit of a yoga move in the sense that you’re scooping down and pushing up.

While it doesn’t look very difficult (or maybe it does), trust us that it’s actually strenuous.

Tips on form:

  • Act like you are diving under a fence

  • Don’t arch your back until you’ve gotten all the way down


As we progress in difficulty with a plyometric exercise like the T-pushup, you’re actually exploding when you execute this movement.

The beginning steps are the same as a regular pushup, but as you press down to raise your body off the ground, you’ll bring your right or left hand up over the top to form a “T”, and rotating your body around using your legs.

Tips on form:

  • Explode at the top of this pushup to help your body rotate

  • Pace yourself and focus on good form to maintain balance

Spider-man pushup

This is one of our absolute favorite pushup variations. It’s fun, challenging and improves flexibility. And honestly, it just looks cool.

The starting position for ol’ spidey is the same as a regular pushup, but as you lower yourself to the ground, you’ll bring one knee up as close to your elbow as possible.

Tips on form:

  • Turn your head to the same side as your knee to avoid hitting your face on the ground

  • Bonus points for wearing a Spider-man shirt 🙂

What pushup variation is your favorite? Record a short video of yourself and tag us on Instagram.




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