The classic push up builds strength throughout the entire body, specifically focusing on the chest, shoulders and core. It’s a key exercise used by personal trainers, but is also a no-frills option for do-anywhere bodyweight strength training. Check out why it’s important, who it’s good for and how to execute it correctly.

Why it’s important

Among the best overall exercises in the books (including pull ups and squats), the beauty lies in how many muscle groups are active during the movement. Chest, shoulders, back, core, legs, it really gets at everything!

Who it’s good for

Add the push up to bridges and planks as a must do for everyone.

Execute it

Hand position just outside shoulder width. Elbows track towards hips, roughly 45 degrees. Lower body with hips and shoulders moving together. It’s best to modify the push up for beginners with hands elevated on a chair, bench, table or counter so you can perform complete reps without losing form. Two sets of 8-12 reps.

Jeremy’s personal training philosophy

Portland personal trainer Jeremy HyattIt’s important to start with the basics and move from there. Too often, people get into complicated movements and goals before they have the proper fundamentals, which can lead to negative results.

My number one job is to get my clients stronger for the things they want and need to do.

Hyatt Training is a collective of certified, enthusiastic and innovative personal trainers in Portland, Oregon. To learn more about our personal trainers or to set up a free consultation to see how they could help you, email us at