One of the biggest mistakes we see new athletes make executing the push up is improper arm position. Ideal arm position is to keep the elbows at a 45 degree angle between the ribs and a horizontal line across the shoulders. From a birds eye view the arms should be shaped as an A or an Arrow Shape, if you were to draw an imaginary line from the elbows to the head. (Right)
Most of the time you will see new athletes flare their elbows out to wide making their elbow positioning parallel to their shoulders, making it look like a T from a top view. This is faulty arm position that maybe compensated from poor scapular mobility, relative upper body strength or poor core stability/ strength. This poor form places tremendous stress on the anterior deltoids, pec tendon, and cervical spine. (Left)
If athlete struggles to maintain proper arm position while executing the push up; reduce the load by elevating the hand placement and performing the push-up on an incline or an elevated surface, such as a bench, or squat rack.