Six Steps for Perfect Push-ups!

Push-ups are an exercise everyone expects you to know how to do. From the PE classroom to dance class it’s a movement that we are expected to know how to do despite never being taught. Because of this, push-ups can be incredibly frustrating and beyond challenging. But with a little guidance on form and by following these six progressional movements, you’ll be crushing perfect push-ups like Gaston and Popeye before you know it. 


There are tons of variations of push-ups out there.

From diamond hands to wide set-ups to yoga push-ups, the variations are endless and can make learning how to do a standard push-up confusing.

For our progressions, we are going to use a standard setup. To start, get on all fours.

Now, place your hands directly underneath your shoulders.

As you step your feet back into your plank position, allow your feet to be about hip-width apart instead of toe to toe.

A wider base will offer you more stability and will give you an easier starting point for your push-ups.

To accomplish push-ups from your knees, simply lower your knees from this position.

Check-in with your upper body; make sure your upper back isn’t sinking into your shoulders but that you are pushing up out of the floor.

Now, imagine that you have a ballet shoe elastic connected between the top of your hip bone and your bottom rib.

Adding this bit of core engagement will ensure that your lower back doesn’t sway!

Finally, when you lower your body in your push-up, do not hug your elbows to your side as you might in a yoga push-up.

Instead, allow your elbows to work at a 45-degree angle to your shoulders.

If you were to look at your body from an aerial view, your upper body would create an arrow pointing in the direction you are facing.

Perfect push-up form- aerial view

STEP 1: Lowering Push-up From Your Knees

Start on your knees and create a straight line from your head to your knees. Lower yourself as far down as you can with control, and once you can’t go any lower, just reset! No need to push back up yet!

STEP 2: Full Push-up From Your Knees

From the same position on your knees, go for a full-push up.  Aim to get your chest all the way to the ground then push the floor away from you to push back up.

STEP 3: Lowering Incline Push-up

Find a ledge, chair or bench that you can use to place your hands on in a push-up position. Be sure to keep your core engaged like you are doing a plank and then lower down as far as you can with control. When you cannot go any farther, reset back to the starting position.

*HELPFUL HINT: The higher the incline surface the less challenging, the lower the incline surface the more challenging.

STEP 4: Full Incline Push-up

Using another surface to create an incline, perform a full push-up. This time, aim to get your chest all the way to the surface before pushing back up!

STEP 5: Lowering Push-up

Okay, let’s up the ante. Set up in a push-up position on the ground with legs extended like you are doing a plank. Keeping the core actively engaged, lower as far down as you can with control and then return to the starting position.


Time to go for it!! Set up in that high-plank position and then lower til your chest hits the floor and then press the floor away to push back up to the start!

Now you’re on your way!

Want to put your perfect push-up form to the test? Try some of these workouts and see which push-up modification works best for you in real time. 

Want us to check your form before you dive in? Send a form video to us at or tag us in your form video on Instagram or TikTok @dancerswholift! We’d love to be a part of your push-up journey. 

Besides, celebrating your progress is one of our favorite things! 

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