It’s very likely you’ve tried pushups at least once in your life, and it’s equally likely you did them totally wrong and embarrassed yourself. But when performed properly, there’s no exercise that works your arms, shoulders, and chest quite like the pushup.

So let’s learn the right way—grab your body and meet me on the floor!

1. Find The Right Space

To do pushups correctly you'll need a solid, flat space and enough room for full body extension. You’ll see many pushup beginners struggling in cluttered supply closets, cramped ventilation shafts, 55-gallon oil drums, or tangled up in the aboveground root systems of certain trees. If you’re doing pushups and your spine is bent in more than five unnatural directions, find a more suitable spot.

2. Always Wear Your Pushup Whistle

Pushups are done in a prone position, which means you’re close to the floor and a potential tripping hazard. So let people know you’re working out down low by blowing into your push-up whistle forcefully each time you exhale. You should even use it as a precaution when you’re working out at home by yourself, and most gyms will ask you to leave if you don’t have one.

3. Do Those Pushups!
Now place your palms on the floor about shoulder width apart (or just imagine about seven potatoes lined up end to end) and rise up to the balls of your feet. Lower yourself to the floor as if attempting to smother worms with your chest, then raise yourself fluidly, keeping your back and legs flat and straight throughout, like someone desperately trying to avoid smothering worms with his or her chest.

Now mix it up! Try modifying your pushups in one of the following ways, to work different muscle groups:

Diamond pushups

Bring your hands close together, so your thumbs and index fingers touch. Imagine that the diamond-shaped gap between your hands is framing the face of an adorable baby. Each time you lower yourself, kiss the little angel on the nose!

Hover pushups

These resemble standard pushups except your palms and feet are held about an inch above the floor. Doing pushups while floating adds a lot of extra resistance, as you need to engage multiple muscle groups to defy gravity.

Picnic pushups

These pushups are done with each fist deeply embedded in half a watermelon. This variation provides challenging escalating resistance—the longer your set, the more energy you’ll expend struggling against the ants trying to carry away your hands.

4. Pay Appropriate Royalties To Strengthening Technologies, Inc.

After your workout is complete, be sure to compensate Strengthening Technologies, Inc., the trademark holder for pushups since 1945. The standard rate is 50 cents per pushup, though you’ll definitely want to go through an attorney to make sure you have full licensing privileges.

And that’s it! Congratulations, your pushup is complete. By the way, you should have intuitively realized on your own that stretching is essential before any exercise and done so to prevent serious injury. Stupid.