Conquering the Push-Up


A Part of Fierce Play’s Grounded Gymnastics Series 

The push-up is an exercise in which the athlete lies face down on the floor and raises their body up off the floor by pressing down with their hands and then lowers their body back down to the floor while keeping their back straight. The push-up is an excellent exercise to strengthen the chest (pectoral muscles) and back of arms (triceps).  Athletes will immediately feel arm muscles activated as they perform the movement, with the bulk of the exercise focusing on the use of the chest, core and triceps.

Watch the video clip below for a full explanation of technique, tips and tricks for performing the movement with efficiency, as well as precautions for staying safe.


  1. Plank Position: Keep your body straight when you set up into the push-up position and do not let your butt sag down, or alternatively, stick way up in the air. Instead, focus on keeping your back and core nice and straight. The goal is to keep this good plank position from start to finish as you lower yourself down to the ground and back up again.
  2. Hands Shoulder-Width Apart: Keep hands just shoulder-width apart as you complete the movement. Athletes often place hands too far apart, which allows the elbows to flare up and outward. This not only puts strain on the joints and impinges the shoulder, but also prevents maximum strength building in the muscles we are trying to work, which are the triceps and pectoral (chest) muscles.
  3. Shoulders Over Fingertips: Keep your shoulders over your fingertips instead of back behind your hands. This will put your body in a good plank position, ultimately engaging your core and back muscles as you push yourself up off the floor and lower yourself back down.
  4. Push Like in Real Life: Think about how you’d push a car in real life. Would you push with your elbows way out to your sides? Probably not. Instead, you would keep your elbows close to your sides and push to get the maximum strength possible. This is essentially what we are replicating when we are completing the push-up.


  1. Worm Up: If you’re not able to keep that good plank position all throughout the push-up movement due to limited core or back strength, you can modify the push-up by doing a “worm”. Starting off in a good plank position, lower your chest to the floor first, then legs. Once on the floor, worm upward by lifting your chest first off the floor and then your knees until you’re back in the plank position. Over time you will find that your core strength and pressing strength improve, and you will be able to complete the push-up without worming upward.
  2. Scale: If you’re unsure about completing the push-up with proper form, talk with your coach about scaling in a different manner so that you can focus on perfecting the technique while gaining strength. It’s great to push yourself to the next level, so long as you stay safe and prevent injury!


QUESTIONS: Ready to get started, or curious to learn more about how Fierce Play can help you meet your health and wellness goals? Contact us for more information. Also feel free to check out more of our videos series to learn how to perform the basics with solid form and efficiency. 


Fierce Play’s Grounded Gymnastics Series focuses on proper technique, as well as tips & tricks, to master some of the foundational movements that will be integrated into many of the workouts you will perform. Start your next workout with the confidence and skills to do the movement safely and effectively.


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CrossFit Level 1 Certification



Mark Mancuso started his fitness journey while enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. Like most individuals, at first, he only focused on bodybuilding type workouts. Mark learned quickly that focusing just on the aesthetics of the body would get you only so far. In 2013, Mark found out about Crossfit and fell in love with everything that it stood for.

In June of 2015, Mark was Honorably Discharged from the Marine Corps and returned from his duty station in Okinawa, Japan to his home in Maple Grove, MN. Not having any formal coaching in Crossfit he was on a mission to find a Crossfit Box to call home. Fierce Play welcomed him with open arms, and he hasn’t looked back. Mark obtained his Level One Crossfit certification in November 2015 and plans to add additional certifications in the future. He also intends to compete in a variety of Crossfit competitions as opportunities arise.


CrossFit Level 1 Certification


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Jeff Birthler has a contagious passion for fitness. He graduated and obtained a personal training certificate from the National Personal Training Institute in 2010. On his way, he discovered and fell in love with CrossFit. Jeff hasn’t stopped learning, and still seeks a well-rounded education within the health domain, going beyond physical facets. He has trained clients at several corporate gyms, including Fitness 19 and LA Fitness, as he established a plan for his own gym.

Fierce Play was established in 2012 in a 500 sq. ft. garage. After a few moves and upgrades, it now has a permanent, 4800 sq. ft. location in Maple Grove. Jeff calls it “home”.


NPTI (National Personal Training Institute) CPT Diploma January 5, 2012

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