The push-up is one of those things that when done well doesn’t draw much attention—it’s not a flashy feat of athleticism. However, in my opinion, how one performs a push-up is indicative of that individual’s athletic foundation, and possibly more importantly, how committed one is to excellence in movement and performance. Sloppy push-ups suggest to me a superficial interest in athleticism and a degree of laziness. Put a little attention and effort into the simple things and it will pay returns in the more complicated and interesting ones.
Greg Everett, “The Push-up: Why Is This So Hard?
We usually call them “virtuous” push ups here, but when I say “pretty” push ups you still know what I mean, right? Body position stacked and organized. Envision a straight line from the top of the head through the shoulders, hips, knees, ankles. Abs tight. Elbows locked out at the top, chest touching the ground at the bottom, and when you move between those two positions your body stays stacked.
This isn’t a fancy, technical movement. But focus on virtuous form in this simple exercise, and you’ll get your payoff in the fancy stuff. Learning and practicing proper body positioning is universal.
Get that down first. Then you can play around with different hand positions.