How Low Should YOU Go In A Push-Up? - Indianapolis Fitness And Sports Training

How Low Should YOU Go In A Push-Up?

written by Zach Moore

I am sure you have heard it before.

“You have to touch your chest to the floor for that push-up to count!”

Well, I am here today to tell you that very rarely should a person go that low in a push-up.  In fact, trying to touch your chest to the floor will put your shoulder joint in a bad position.

Not an ideal shoulder position at the bottom.  Read on to see why.
Not an ideal shoulder position at the bottom. Read on to find out why.

This next part is going to get a little into anatomy so if you are not looking for too much detail then feel free to skip to the end and watch the video.

In a push-up, and really all exercises, we want our humerus (upper arm bone) centered in the socket.  And our shoulder socket is part of our shoulder blade.  So when we perform a push-up, and lower ourselves to the floor the arm bone and shoulder blade should move together, which will allow the humerus to stay centered in the socket.

The shoulder blades will actually come together in the bottom of a proper push-up, and this is actually the ideal stopping position.  So when your shoulder blades are retracted (squeezed together) that is when you should push back up.

If you try to go beyond this point then the arm bone will continue to move while the shoulder blade and socket are fairly stationary.  Therefore, the arm bone will not be centered in the socket.

Take a look at the video below.


-Begin a push-up by pulling yourself to the floor.  As you do this, your shoulder blades should begin sliding towards each other (retracting).

-When you feel that your shoulder blades have come together, push back up.

In conclusion, how low you should go in a push-up largely depends on your mobility and body levers.  Do not force yourself to go beyond your body’s ability.

We always say at IFAST, “Do not worry about how far you can move at first – worry only about moving from the right area(s).  Your mobility and range of motion will eventually improve.”

Hope that helps!  Have a great week!

Oh, and congrats to IFAST client Ruth Ranalletta who attempted her first push-up from the floor this week and easily dominated 6 reps (check out the video below).  Way to go, Ruth!!



Zach Moore

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