Push-ups for beginners
If you are not used to pushups, try starting incline pushups. You’ll need a stable surface on which to place your hands.
- Place your hands on the edge of the elevated surface. A bench, step, or other sturdy platform are good options.
- Step your feet back so your legs are straight and your arms are perpendicular to your body.
- Inhale as you slowly lower your chest to the edge of your platform.
- Pause for a second.
- Exhale as you push back to your starting position with your arms fully extended.
Bump it up
Balancing on your knees instead of your feet is another good modification while you build your strength.
- Begin in a hands and knees position with your gaze at the floor.
- Place your hands on the ground on either side of your shoulders. Your knees should be at a comfortable distance apart.
- Inhale as you slowly lower your elbows to bring your chest toward the ground. Be sure to keep your core muscles contracted.
- Pause for a second in the lowered position — your chin may lightly touch the ground.
- Exhale as you push up from the ground to your starting position.
Another way to start this pushup is to begin by laying on your stomach. Bend your knees so your feet are up in the air, then push with your hands into position on your knees.
Fully extending your legs increases the difficulty of this move by adding more body weight. One study showed that the “ground reaction force” or how much weight you push is 64 percent of your body weight with standard pushups. To compare, a kneeling pushup is 49 percent.
- Begin with your chest and stomach flat on the floor. Your legs should be straight out behind you and your palms should be at chest level with the arms bent out at a 45-degree angle.
- Exhale as you push from your hands and heels, bringing your torso, chest, and thighs off the ground.
- Pause for a second in the plank position — keep your core engaged.
- Inhale as you slowly lower back to your starting position.