Shauna Harrison, Ph.D., was teaching movement as a side gig while she attended Stanford, UCLA, and Johns Hopkins. Twenty years, three graduate degrees, and multiple brand partnerships later, she is now a full-time movement advocate. Check out her new mindbodygreen class, The 20-Minute Workout Challenge: Tone Your Whole Body With Yoga, HIIT & More.
Push-ups are a do-anywhere, crush your upper body exercise.
Whether you do them on your toes or on your knees, you'll get a great upper-body strengthener that targets the chest, shoulders, forearms, and triceps depending on arm position and your core. I love them for their versatility and because you don't need much space or equipment to do them
Side note: The pull-up is actually my favorite, but it does require some equipment so it's not always as convenient.
Here's what it should look like:
And here's your step-by-step guide to doing a perfect push-up:
1. Start in a full plank (legs straight) or modified plank (knees on the ground) position. Shoulders, elbows, and wrists stacked. Hands can be shoulder-width or slightly farther apart.
2. Bend your elbows behind you—not out to the sides in a "T" position—to lower the entire body (or from knees up) toward the ground. The whole body should lower together, not the chest without the hips or the hips without the chest.
3. Press straight back up to plank.