The Strict Push Up is one of the most basic bodyweight exercises and is still a primary test for upper body strength and conditioning. While the Push Up fully engaging your shoulders and lats in a pushing movement, the exercise also engages your core, requiring you to maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement by holding a plank position.

Exercise Steps

Step 1: Start with your hands on the ground, shoulder width apart. Your wrists, elbows, and shoulders should be stacked in a vertical line from the ground. Keep your middle fingers pointed straight ahead of you with your fingers spread. Place your feet straight behind you and keep them together. Get into a plank position with your spine neutral, including your neck (don’t look forward).

Step 2: Bend your elbows at a 45 degree angle out from your body, lowering yourself steadily towards the ground.

Step 3: Once your sternum is 3-4 inches from the ground, pause briefly before raising your body back up to the starting position. Each rep requires that you lock out your arms prior to proceeding with the next repetition. Your body should never flex or break at any point during the Push Up.

Tips & Safety: If you have wrist issues, point for index finger forward rather than your middle finger; this should relieve some strain.