5 Common Push-Up Mistakes People Make

Knowing the most common push-up mistakes will allow you to improve your technique and avoid possible injuries. Discover them below!
5 Common Push-Up Mistakes People Make

Last update: 25 September, 2020

If you take a close look at the different exercise plans that exist, you’ll see that push-ups are a fundamental part of any routine. It’s an exercise that both people who are just starting to exercise and elite athletes do. However, despite the fact that it’s one of the most famous exercises, people make many push-up mistakes during its execution. These mistakes can influence the proper development of the workout program.

Avoid these push-up mistakes

The technique is the proper execution of a movement. In this case, we’ll focus on the push-up technique. When the technique is incorrect, pain, as well as injuries, begin to appear in different areas of the body. In addition, this hinders the muscular development so many people seek.

In this vein, it’s necessary to identify the most common push-up mistakes people make. This way, you’ll be able to improve your technique and avoid possible injuries.

1. Push-up mistakes: not breathing

The mistake of breathing incorrectly during the execution of an exercise is more common than many people believe. In fact, a lot of people don’t breathe when they do push-ups, while others hold their breath. Both mistakes can lead to physiological problems.

Making the mistake of holding your breath or not breathing during the exercise can alter your blood pressure. In addition, this causes fatigue, dizziness, and prevents gas exchange in the lungs in a timely manner.

A man doing a push-up.
Keeping your back straight and breathing correctly is key to the push-up technique.

2. Poor back posture

Another common push-up mistake is poor back posture. Due to this, excessive curvatures in the lumbar area, dropping or elevating the hips, and curvatures between the dorsal and cervical region usually appear, which indicate a poor execution of the technique.

This can cause back pain, and also doesn’t allow push-ups to yield the desired results. One of the main problems this mistake causes is lumbago or low back pain.

3. Doing incomplete push-ups

This is one of the most common push-up mistakes, especially in beginners. Doing incomplete push-ups is very common due to a lack of strength.

It may occur that the person doing the push-up perceives they don’t have enough strength to hold their body. Therefore, the exercise is incomplete and they don’t lower their chest to the floor as much as possible.

Regardless of the type of exercise, quality should always prevail over quantity. When the technique is poor and incomplete, push-ups don’t help the body.

4. Push-up mistakes: moving the hips

This mistake is similar to the poor back posture. However, it isn’t just about the lumbar curvature by lowering the hips but about different movements.

A group of people doing push-ups.

Moving your hips abruptly in different ways can cause decompensation when you’re executing the exercise. The hips should remain straight and you should avoid focusing strength on it.

5. Placing your hands in the wrong position

Getting started in the world of exercise involves making rookie mistakes. In this sense, incorrect hand positions are often more common than you think. When you position your fingers in or out of your body’s axis, you generate tension in your wrists.

This mistake can injure the area and cause very uncomfortable pain. For this reason, your hands should be aligned with your shoulders, with your fingers facing forward.

For best results, do push-ups correctly

You don’t need to overly worry about the push-up mistakes you make since you can learn from all of them. In fact, they shouldn’t even be considered rookie mistakes because even the most skilled athletes make them.

Thus, it’s best to learn to do push-ups correctly in order to stimulate the desired muscles, that is, the pectorals, deltoids, and triceps brachii, among others. This way, you won’t only get good results but also avoid significant ailments or injuries in your entire body.

It might interest you...
Push-ups to Work your Triceps and Main Chest Muscles
Fit PeopleRead it in Fit People
Push-ups to Work your Triceps and Main Chest Muscles

What are push-ups for? They're effective movements to boost your muscle mass. There are many varieties and ways to perform them.



  • Marrero, E. G. M. (2017). Músculos del miembro superior. In Miología, sistema musculoesqueletico. https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctt1w6tfdv.9
  • Troosters, D. T., Dupont, D. L., & Julia Bott, K. H. (2015). Los pulmones y el ejercicio. European Lung Fundation.
  • Rosa, Samir; Martinez, Eduardo; Marson, Runer; Fortes, Marcos; Filo, J. (2018). Entrenamiento físico militar, fuerza muscular y composición corporal de militares brasileños. Revista Brasileira de Medicina Do Esporte. https://doi.org/10.1590/1517-869220182402169528