Push-Ups

How To Do Push Ups – A Beginners Guide

How to Do a Push-Up: Forms and Variations for Beginners

So you want to incorporate push-ups into your fitness routine but have no idea where to start. The good news is, learning how to do push-ups for beginners is a simple enough process. All you need is yourself, and maybe a yoga mat, five minutes, and follow the steps as we go!

The Benefits of the Push-Up

Before you start on your push-ups, be sure you understand how they can impact your fitness routine.  Push-ups yield many positive benefits and are an excellent addition to any work-out regimen, but they aren’t for everyone. 

Individuals with knee or joint problems should progress with push-ups carefully, and listen to their body closely. If an exercise is too difficult, modify it as needed.

The push-up is a body-weight exercise, meaning it requires no equipment except yourself. However, you can add equipment to the exercise, such as a weighted vest or exercise bands, to increase the difficulty of the exercise once you’ve got the form mastered. 

The push-up is primarily considered an upper-body exercise move and is used to target the shoulders, chest, and triceps. However, if done correctly, the push-up will also work out your core, legs, and glutes. 

Before performing your push-ups you will want to make sure you are well-rested and have sufficient energy one way you can do this is by consuming sufficient food before and considering what to eat after doing your push ups.

How to Do a Traditional Push-Up for Beginners

Don’t expect yourself to be busting out a hundred perfect push-ups on your first try. You have to walk before you can run, and with push-ups, you have to take a knee before you try for the perfect form. 

And, take a knee is meant literally. 

The traditional planked push-up is not the form a beginner should start with. Instead, beginners should select one of three modifications to begin. 

The Kneeling Push-Up (Easiest Push Up For Beginners)

The kneeling push-up or knee push ups is probably the first beginner level modification that comes to your mind. It is easier to achieve because you push less of your body-weight with your knees down during push-ups. 

To do a knee push-up, follow these steps:

Get down on all fours on the floor, with your hands chest-length apart in line with your shoulders, your knees should be a comfortable distance from your chest. Your fingers should be flat and your palm resting comfortably on the mat. 

Inhale and contract your abs while squeezing your glutes. Slowly bend your elbows, keeping your core tight and making sure your body is in a straight line until your elbows have reached a 90-degree angle. 

Pause for a moment, then exhale as you push up to return to your starting position. Repeat steps 1-3 until done with your set.

It may help you balance if you cross your ankles during your sets. 

The Incline Push-Up

Incline push ups also reduce the body-weight moved during the exercise. They are easier on folks with bad knees than a kneeling push-up, too. 

To do an incline push-up, you will need a box, chair, bench, or other firm raised surface to work with.

Place your hands on the raised surface you are using for the exercise. Step your way back until you are in a raised-plank position. Your back should be straight, your balance should be on your toes, and your body should be at roughly a 45-degree angle. 

Inhale and contract your abs and glutes. 

Slowly bend your elbows, make sure to keep your core tight, until your elbows have reached a 90-degree angle.

Pause for a moment, then exhale as you push up to return to your starting position. Repeat steps 1-4 until done with your set.

The Wall Push-Up

The wall push-up is another joint-friendly modification of the kneeling push-up. It requires only a wall and yourself to do the exercise. 

Place both hands on the wall you are using for the exercise. Step your way back until you are in a raised-plank position. Your back should be straight, and you should be on your tip-toes. 

Inhale and contract your abs and glutes. 

Slowly bend your elbows, keeping your core tight, until your elbows have reached a 90-degree angle.

Pause for a moment, then exhale as you push up to return to your starting position. Repeat steps 1-4 until done with your set.

Once you can go through these modified positions with ease, then you are ready to take on a planked push-up. 

How to Do a Traditional Push-Up For The Beginner

Doing a traditional or plank push-up correctly is a slow process. It is best to do your push-ups slowly so you can make sure your form is correct for every repetition. Follow these steps and keep in mind that form matters more than speed:

Begin on all fours before moving to a plank position. Hold your hands shoulder-width apart, Your back should be straight, not dipped, and your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Point your fingertips straight ahead.

Once you’ve found your balance between your toes and your hands, inhale and make sure to contract your abdomen and glutes.

Slowly bend your elbows, keeping your core tight, until your elbows have reached a 90-degree angle.

Pause for a moment, then exhale as you push up to return to your starting position. Repeat steps 1-4 until done with your set.

If you find yourself dipping your back or struggling to stay in the plank position, switch to one of the easier modifications so that you are able to focus on your form, and complete your repetition goals. 

To increase the difficulty of traditional push-ups, you can bring your hands closer together or slightly wider than shoulder-width while doing your repetitions.

Why do reputations and sets matter?

The number of push-up reputations and sets we do can have a drastic effect on the results we gain from the exercise. In order for our upper body to adapt and grow we need to create sufficient intensity in the exercise (stress on the body/intensity is the biggest factor when it comes to getting results).

The amount of reputation we perform depends on our experience and existing strength levels. However, in general, the last 2-3 reps should feel very difficult to perform. If we find that the exercise is becoming to easy then we may way to add in extra reputations to the exercise in order to increase the stress on our body.

Another way to raise the intensity of the exercise is to increase the range of motion of the pushup, by going ‘deeper’ or bringing your chest closer to the floor .As mentioned above we can also perform incline push-ups to add more weight to the upper body and make the exercise harder.

You may also want to consider what time you do your push ups. When do you feel most energised? Is it at night or in the morning? It can take a few hours to digest our food so when consuming your meals you need to consider when you will feel most energised. Some people like doing their push ups before bed because they feel it keeps them in a routine whilst others will find this may disrupt their sleep.

Tips for Success

Practice makes perfect. Be sure to do your push-up routine at least three times a week. A basic work-out might include 3 sets of 10 repetitions of your selected push-up form, plus your other selected exercises. 

You can choose to do your push-ups on a yoga mat or carpet to make the exercise more comfortable. 

To avoid straining your hands, do not cup your palm during the exercises. To avoid neck strain, look straight down at the ground during the exercises. 

Be sure not to arch your back like a cat during the exercise. This form reduces the effectiveness of the push-ups as much as dipping the back.

It’s important to take things slow as you start building up your strength. If you take the time to do your repetitions correctly, you will see your hard work pay off in good results!

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About Tom Riley

Tom Riley has a health and fitness expert and enthusiast with a university degree in sports sciences and a background in amateur boxing.

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