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By RealJock Staff

This exercise provided courtesy of Billy Polson, founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006.

Good trainers love push-ups because they work the entire chest and triceps while also training coordination and stamina. Best of all, push-ups can be done just about anywhere. Push-ups are often used in advanced combination exercises like the squat thrust with push-up, so learning the proper form is essential.

Muscles Worked

Starting Position
Position yourself on the floor in a prone position (face down) with your legs together and extended straight behind you and your arms slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Support yourself on your toes and your hands, with your palms down on the ground. Your arms should be straight but without locked elbows. Your spine should be neutral with no arch (see Photo 1).


  1. From the starting position, slowly bend your arms and descend toward the floor. Keep your neck in line with your spine throughout the movement; do not jut your chin out towards the floor at the bottom of the movement. Stop when your elbows are at a 90-degree angle (see Photos 2 and 3).
  2. Reverse position and push back up to the starting position. Do not lock your elbows at the top of the movement.
  3. Without pausing at the top, immediately descend into your next rep.
Starter Push-ups Variation
If you find standard push-ups too challenging to do initially with proper form, begin with starter push-ups. Starter push-ups are similar to standard push-ups, except that you elevate your upper body by placing your hands on a flat bench, raised Smith machine bar, or other raised surface. This takes some of the weight off of your chest and triceps and allows you to build strength using proper form (see Photo 4).

About Billy Polson: Billy Polson is the founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, which was voted the best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006. A competitive swimmer and triathlete in his own right, Polson has over 15 years of experience working as a coach and trainer, and was recently named by Men's Journal Magazine (December 2005) as one of the Top 100 Trainers in America.