Beginner Push Up Progressions

Beginner Push Up Progressions


Push-ups are one of the most dynamic bodyweight exercises you can perform. The basic push up works the pectoral muscles, triceps, and deltoids while also engaging your core. Performing push-ups on a regular basis is a great way to build your upper body and core strength.

While a great exercise to build strength they can also be difficult for many people to perform properly. Follow these three easy steps to build strength and improve your push-up form!

1) Knee Push Ups

Proper knee push up in upper position

Knee Steps

  1. Start kneeling on the floor
  2. Extend arms into a high plank position
  3. Make sure your shoulders are over your wrists and hands shoulder-width apart
  4. Slowly lower your body while keeping your head aligned with your spine and back straight
  5. Press back up until your arms are fully extended. *to engage chest more, think about squeezing your elbows together as you press up. Pressing straight up often works your triceps more than the chest
  6. Repeat this process for multiple reps as long as you can keep proper form

2) Elevated Push Ups

Proper elevated push up form in upper position

Proper elevated push up form in lower position

Elevated Steps

  1. Find a bar, bench, box, countertop or other object to place your hands on
  2. Extend your legs behind into an elevated plank against the object
  3. Make sure your shoulders are over your wrists and hands shoulder-width apart
  4. Slowly lower your body while keeping your head aligned with your spine and back straight
  5. Press back up until your arms are fully extended, without locking out your elbows
  6. Repeat this process for multiple reps as long as you can keep proper form

3) Standard Push Ups

Standard push up with proper form in upper position

Standard push up with proper form in lower position

Standard Steps

  1. Start kneeling on the floor and extend your legs behind you with toes on floor
  2. Extend your upper body out into a plank position
  3. Make sure your shoulders are over your wrists and hands shoulder width apart
  4. Slowly lower your body while keeping your head aligned with your spine and back straight
  5. Press back up until your arms are fully extended
  6. Repeat this process for multiple reps as long as you can keep proper form

Advanced Push Ups

Once you feel comfortable doing multiple reps of a standard push up you can try one of these advanced techniques to take your fitness to the next level!

Narrow Grip Push Up

Narrow grip push up in upper position

Narrow Grip Push Up in Lower Position front view

Narrow grip push up in lower position side view

Narrow Grip Notes

  1. Elbows stay tucked closed to body
  2. Focuses the exercise more on your tricep muscles

Push Up With Leg Lift

Leg lift push up in upper position

Leg Lift Notes

  1. Great to engage your core with anti-rotation
  2. Lift your leg as you lower yourself to the ground
  3. When you push up place your leg on the ground and alternate to the other leg

Push Up With Knee Tuck

Push up with knee tuck lower position

Knee Tuck Notes

  1. A core burner!
  2. Lift your leg and bring your knee toward your elbow as your lower yourself to the ground
  3. As you push up extend the leg back to straight and place on floor to switch legs

Need more one on one help?

Our team at Precision Personal Training enjoy nothing more than helping you reach your goals! Whether that be knocking out a dozen push ups or running your first 5K we want to see you succeed. Contact us today to learn how we can help you!