3 Ways to Improve your Push-Ups for Better Performance

3 Ways to Improve your Push-Ups for Better Performance 

Push up variations are an effective means of conditioning and when combined with resistance training can produce favorable results in both strength and stamina for both novice and advanced lifters across the board. 

Unfortunately I see many athletes unable to perform 10 picture perfect push-ups in a row. While performing push-ups athletes will dive into forward head posture in place of scapular retraction along with elbows flaring out and a grossly low back arch. 

Looks something like this: 

Here are 3 things to consider when performing push-ups


1) Scapular Retraction vs Ball and Socket movement

Scapular retraction is the movement of your scapula along your ribcage towards the midline of your spine. While a ball and socket movement is your humerus moving in isolation. We want the humerus and the scapula to move together. 

Try This! {Scapular protraction and retraction} while keeping your body still, try and move your scapula along your rib cage keeping your elbow locked. 


This is the motion we want with our scapula when performing a push up. When the scapula fails to perform its stabilization role, this can result in a decrease in performance as well as injury to the glenohumeral joint. 

A correct push-up would like like this: 


{** Get the shoulder blades moving and fill up your upper back**


2) Attack Serratus Anterior 

The primary role of serratus anterior is to stabilize the scapula during elevation as well as wrapping the scapula forward along the rib cage during protraction movements such as the push-up. The serratus along with lower and upper traps are vital to moving the scapula through protraction and retraction. "Most people retract Ok, it's the posterior tilt they miss on the way down and protraction on the way up" - Tony Bonvechio  

Try This! 

3) Attack Anterior Core

One of the primary roles of the anterior core is resisting lumbar extension. During the push-up I see many athletes giving up control of their anterior core and banging into extension. This can result in acute and even chronic low back irritation. Once we learn to control extension and increase 360 degree stiffness around our trunk we can increase performance and decrease the risk of injury.

Try this!  

If you're having trouble performing push-ups give these few movements a try!