Push-Ups in 5 Easy Steps
Written by Ronny Terry - Fri 23rd Aug 2019
The push-up may be one of the most basic bodyweight exercises but it packs a huge punch, working the triceps (aka bingo wings) chest, shoulders, and core. It is an awesome whole-body movement for anyone new to strength training who wants to tone-up from head-to-toe. There are four main push-up progressions, each increasing in difficulty, making push-ups assessable for all
1. Hands Elevated Push-Up
This version great for beginners as elevating the hands from the floor reduces the amount of bodyweight being pushed. The higher the hands, the easier the exercise, as more and more of your weight is moved from the shoulders and on to the feet.
- Place your hands on a bench or sturdy chair slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and the feet close together on the floor.
- Keep a rigid body and straight back by contracting your abs and glutes (aka bum), and lower yourself until your chest touches the bench or chair.
- Push up from this lowered position until your elbows are straight.
2. Kneeling Push-Up
The kneeling push-up increases the amount weight lifted from around 40 to 50 per cent of your total body weight and is often given as an option in fitness classes as an alternative to regular push-ups. Performed correctly, this is a great exercise for building up to a regular push up.
- While kneeling, place your hands shoulder-width apart on the ground with the arms around 45 degrees from the body.
- Move your knees back 6-12 inches and keeping a straight back, lower your chest towards the floor.
- Reverse the movement, pushing up until elbows lock out at the top.
3. Regular Push-Up
This variation of the push-up is a bodyweight training staple and can be a great test of strength endurance. Here, both hands and feet are placed on the floor meaning you must overcome around 64 per cent of your total weight.
- Place your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, directly under the elbows with feet close together.
- Arms should be at around a 45 degree angle to your torso and glutes and abs ‘switched on’ (aka tensed) to prevent sagging.
- Lower your body until your chest touches the floor and push up from the lowered position until elbows lock out at the top.
4. Feet Elevated Push-Up
If you’ve mastered the other three versions, this one will be you greatest challenge yet. Raising your feet places more of your body weight on your arms and shoulders making it much more difficult.
- Place your feet together on a bench, sturdy chair or other suitable platform with the hands shoulder-width apart on the floor.
- Lock out the elbows and activate your glutes and abs, keeping a tight frame.
- Lower your chest to the floor and push up from the bottom position back to lock out the arms.
5. Lowering Only Push-Up
It’s easier to perform the lowering part of a push-up than it is to go from the bottom back to the top. So completing the downward phase of any push-up variation is a great way to build up the strength to master the full movement.
- Start in the top position of your chosen push-up variation and simply lower your chest towards the floor/chair/bench in a smooth, controlled movement.
- Maintain a straight back and rigid body, and repeat until your technique starts to suffer.