It feels inevitable; you’re bored with your current workout routine, so you add a new movement—something you picked up from a chiseled fitnesser in your Instagram feed, something familiar but new.
You set out to try it for yourself, and the first thing you ask is, “Am I doing this right?”
I’ve had the pleasure of watching thousands of people try a fitness routine for the first time, and one of the biggest hurdles is uncoupling the conflated notion of “correct form” and exploration.
Form has to do with safety and leverage. Generally speaking, it’s most important in high-level sport and when working with heavy weight and severely limited ability (previous injuries, obesity, frailty, etc.).
Exploration (or play) should almost always take the place of worrying if you’re doing something right. Right is only right for a specific purpose, and where general fitness (i.e., getting/staying in shape) is concerned, the right thing is almost always fun and challenge.
Search for “pushup variations.” Which one is right? The correct answer is all of them. We all have different bodies and different levels of experience. The right thing for you is only known once you play with the movement consciously.
Forget about mindless routines and 90-degree angle perfection and explore what your body can do by testing the limits slowly and mindfully. Have fun.