F.I.T. Blog

Own Your Push Ups

One of the most common performance goals we hear as coaches: I want to do push ups.

But good ones, not the ugly ones you often see in the group training classes at your local big box gym.

So how do you train to improve the push up? Many people have tried variations of the push up: inclined, knee push ups, assisted. The problem with many of these is that they often don’t achieve full range of motion and rarely strengthen the weak points because the movement is TOO similar to an actual push up.

So let’s use some pressing variations to finally nail that elusive push up!

Reverse push up (AKA the Bench Press)


  • Full range of motion (ROM): the bar gets to the chest on every rep so you train the entire pattern
  • Load progressively: unlike the push up, you have the opportunity to add weight 5 lbs at a time or less to keep making progress WITH A FULL RANGE OF MOTION.

DB Bench Press

  • Active Mobility: Often times the shoulders get sore or impinged during the process, stalling progress. Two separate Dumbbells allow not just for full ROM but some additional as you get towards the chest. Squeezing the back to force a bigger chest stretch (avoid the shoulders rolling forward!)
  • Back strength: squeezing the back also teaches you how to pull weight towards you on a press and eventually pull your body towards the ground in an actual push up

Floor Press

  • Tricep strength: Not locking out the push up can be the worst feeling after getting through most of the rep. The floor press helps train the triceps specifically for that lockout issue.
  • Shoulder movement symmetry: **Healthy shoulder alert** Learning about your asymmetries leads to healthier shoulders. Getting the elbows to contact the ground very close to simultaneously will keep your shoulders moving well for a long time!

Add these three exercises into your program and you will earn a kick ass push up!