Press-Ups – Most Common Press-Up Mistakes

I will be using the same video I used in the first post on press-ups: Press-Ups – Why It’s Difficult To Do A Full Press-up, to list some of the most common mistakes we do when learning and practicing press-ups.


There are 3 main reasons why we make press-up mistakes:

  1. We don’t know how to do it – no one taught us
  2. We want to do a lot of them – a lot for some people can be 10; we try to do a lot of them regardless of HOW we do them
  3. We get tired and we lose technique without realizing – having no one next to us to correct leads to even more mistakes


Practicing and repeating press-ups with incorrect technique can lead to:

  1. Muscle strain – particularly the neck, lower back and shoulder blades
  2. Lower back pain
  3. Shoulder pain
  4. Elbow injuries
  5. Muscle imbalances

When you lose technique, further repetitions are useless and you are wasting time and energy.


Common press-up mistakes (you will also see them and explained in the video below):

  1. Head hanging – straining neck muscles. You should focus your attention on a point just in front of your hands. Not just your eyes but the whole head.
  2. Sinking into the shoulders – for beginners in particular, this is sinking into the shoulders to give the impression the body is lowering. Shoulders must be stabilized and the press-up is done by bending the elbows to lower the body.
  3. Elbows to the side – places unwanted stress on the joint and can lead to overuse injury. Although this makes it more difficult learn how to do press-ups with elbows going back, brushing the sides of the body.
  4. Hips sinking below the chest – lower back pain and the abdominal muscles are not working. Hips should follow the chest. When the chest stops the hips stop as well. Hips never go lower than the chest. We do that because, again, we have the impression we go lower in the press-up.
  5. Hips too high – core is not working. This is a pressup variation, forming an “A” shape. But for classic press-ups the hips have to follow the chest. However, if you are unsure it is better to have your hips higher than lower. Hips higher – core not working, while Hips lower – over arching back and lower back pain. Better the first, if you are unsure.

Correct these press-up mistakes and you will train and strengthen your whole upper body. The more correct you do them, even just a few at a time, the more effective they are.

And here is the video I promised, jump at minute 2:48 for press-ups mistakes:


Alexandra Merisoiu, The Body Engineer, is the Founder of The Merisoiu Technique – Institute Of Health And Human Movement and Dracula’s Retreat. She is also a qualified Low Back Pain Management and Prevention Exercise Instructor and REPS registered.

She specialises in working with runners, beginners and advanced, who want to run faster, further, with less effort and fewer injuries. This is done through natural movement fitness and running technique and mechanics drawn from the many disciplines Alexandra has studies throughout the years, including long distance running.

Since 1995 she has explored how the body and mind works. She has done this through using many different sporting techniques and working with a wide variety of highly respected coaches. Throughout her Martial Arts career she has achieved 3rd Dan Black Belt in Karate Shotokan, runs her own Karate club and is IJKA 2017 triple World Champion, 2016 WMO Martial Arts British National and European Champion. She still competes at an international level.

It is through these learnings, and drawing inspiration from respected natural movement names such as MovNat, IdoPortal and POSE Method of running among many others, that she has created The Merisoiu Technique and has established her own unique transformational programs that incorporate thousands of years of knowledge with Natural Human Movement.

Alexandra’s mission is to challenge the status quo of how to achieve the truly strong, fit and powerful body a runner needs to perform at their best level. This is done through building strong, lasting foundations in the natural outdoor environment; reducing the risk of injuries and educating people on the power of the fundamentals of natural human movement and running mechanics.

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