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How To Do Push-Ups Effectively (5 Variations for Beginners)

I’ve signed up some new clients through my free masculinity discovery call and this article is specifically geared towards them because some of them are new to doing push-ups.

And this motivated me to share this with you, because according to Heathline, push-ups improve heart health.

Not only does doing push-ups improve heart health, when you can do up to 40 push-ups, your chance of a heart attack go down substantially. This should open your eyes to how beneficial push-ups are.

If you think that’s bullshit, click here, you’ll see that there is an association between push-ups and future cardiovascular problems go down as this study has been researched and clinically proven to decrease the chance of a heart attack!

So here’s my tip to you if you hate push-ups, get comfortable in the discomfort. 

Because you now know how beneficial push-ups are for heart health.

Here’s what I first want you to know on how to do push-ups, they are a very powerful exercise for upper body strength.

When you know how to do push-ups effectively, you can also incorporate different variations that challenges you further.

So in this article, I am providing you with beginner variations only and I’m including common mistakes people make.

By the end of this article you will know how to do push-ups effectively. So let’s proceed…

Push-Up Stands Increase Core Strength

So here’s why I recommend push-up stands, it’s because this has helped me get good at push ups fast.

In fact, it can be used for all fitness levels, beginner, intermediate, and advanced.

It’s going to last you for a very long time and there are tutorial videos on how to use it on Amazon.

Not only does it increase core strength, but also you can deepen range of motion when you get better and better.

I recommend doing push-ups every day if you want strong arms and good upper body strength, and use these push-up stands.

Why I Always Incorporate This Bodyweight Exercise

Every time I work with my clients, I incorporate bodyweight training for finishers and push-ups is one of the ways to seriously finish your chest off after doing chest day for example.

I love doing push-ups with my clients because it’s a scalable exercise. When you get good, you can progress and do clapper push-ups, you can even incorporate some medicine balls.

I’ll show you some advanced push-ups in a different article. Just understand that you can put this exercise in a conditioning workout and crank them out till failure regardless if it’s clapper’s or standard push-ups.

And it’s such a fun exercise. When you get good at push-ups, nothing is more satisfying then seeing a client achieve their goals.

There are some people that find this exercise really hard and doubt themselves, so I’m going to address one last thing…

Don’t Tell Yourself You Can’t Do It

I have to address this because I’ve seen so many people do this as a group fitness instructor.

The most sad thing I see is people doubting what they think they can do.

You’d be surprised what the human body is capable of.

In fact, the number one thing holding yourself back in fitness is your own negative self-talk.

So cut the shit man. Don’t say, “I can’t do push-ups. I don’t know how to do push-ups.”

Don’t ever say that. Why?

  • I am going to teach you how to do push-ups.
  • I am going to encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone.
  • You must stop buying in to negative belief systems, they do nothing to help you progress, if anything, it stops you.

And I want you to follow your fears. Because no growth happens in your comfort zone. It happens in the courage zone.

Core Engagement is Key to Preventing Injury

 

You are going to realize that when you get good at push-ups, it’s going to be a consistent exercise that you’ll perform when you work chest.

The more you perform push-ups, the better that you are going to get. And even if it gets old, I’m giving you five variations.

You can intensify push-ups when you get good. However, this particular article is for beginners.

So let’s talk about a few things before I show you the moves. 

Firstly, don’t aim the butt high, this is a common mistake. Secondly, don’t ever have the pelvis too close to the floor.

The most important point to doing push-ups that REALLY count is to engage your core (the deepest muscle in your core.)

I am talking about your transverse abdominus. I strongly recommend you read this to understand what I mean.

This is why it’s one of the most effective bodyweight exercises.

If you think about it, you work the entire upper body, chest, core, and shoulders.

Wall Push-Ups

This is an exercise that I recommend to my clients that cannot get to the floor.

When I trained special populations in the gym Anytime Fitness, I had a handful of people come through that said, “I had surgery done, I cannot do push-ups on my knees.”

So when I trained class and I had push-ups on the board, I walked over and said, “Do wall push-ups.”

Then I would correct them when they had their hands too high. So here’s my suggestion to you if you can’t go to the floor.

Do wall push-ups. Time yourself for one minute and do as many as you can within the sixty seconds.

With that said, I know that a lot of you are thinking, “I would NEVER do this in a million years, it’s not much work.”

Imagine you have surgery on both of your knees. And it hurts to put your knees on the floor to modify push-ups.

This is what happened when I trained evening classes, they told me, “I cannot modify on my knees.”

One major tip on doing wall push-ups, I want you to look at my stance above. Notice that my feet are farther away from the wall.

Why does that make it harder? Because when you’re too close to the wall, it’s hardly no work to do the exercise.

So for those of you that cannot go on your knees, this is the exercise that I would diagnose for you to do.

And a great way to make it more challenging is for you to hold at the very bottom, make it isometric. This burns!!

Another way to challenge yourself is to pulse the motion very short movements in the middle point of the push-up.

You’ll feel it, trust me on this one.

Time yourself to do this exercise for one minute, see how many you can do.

Knee Push-Ups (Modified)

Go on your knees my friend, this is how I started in my fitness journey about fifteen years ago. I could barely do regular push-ups.

This is how I started and this is what I recommend to most clients because I ALWAYS see them tilt the pelvis way too low.

The minute I see that, I say to them, “Stop it right now. I don’t want you hurting yourself cause you’re moving your pelvis wrong. So stop the exercise before you hurt yourself.”

By the way, when I say that, I mean it with love, don’t take it personal my friend.

If you’re guilty of aiming your pelvis too low, you’ll fuck up your lower back.

I mean that. So if you ever catch yourself doing this and it hurts, now you know. 

These tips I have to tell you because so many people do push-ups WRONG.

And it’s because you fatigue your arms and chest, you start cheating.

Now as I previously said for the Wall Push-Ups, time yourself for 60 seconds.

Standard Push-Ups (Touch the Floor!)

 

Notice how I go as deep as possible. This is what you want. Touch the floor with your core on every repetition.

Now I understand if you have to start modifying on your knees, especially since I’m challenging you to touch the floor.

So here’s what I suggest, tilt and tuck the pelvis, touch the floor with your core. This is a very subtle fix that works!

I challenge you to do this exercise if you think you’ve mastered push-ups with just this subtle fix and do it for a full minute.

And here’s how I recommend you get through this move through the full minute, tap in to your masculine mindset.

Take Bucked Up and you’ll feel primed and ready to do this challenge to do quality repetitions for one minute!

Wide Hand Push-Ups

I have to say this again and again, but do not sag the hips down or upward!

In the wide push-up, you are hitting more of the anterior (front shoulder) and it has a strong chest focus.

Keep your neck neutral, this is a very subtle fix, however, I’ve seen people make the mistake of leaning their head to the floor.

That means just keep your head still. You can actually have neck pain if you lean too far forward.

If you are doing all five exercises for one minute each (which I STRONGLY encourage you to do) go on your knees.

Why? Well by this point, I’m sure your arms are toast from the previous push-ups.

You can do knee wide hand push-ups, there is no shame in modifying.

See this is what I encounter in some of my clients..

“But Adam, I feel like I’m not working out if I’m modifying.”

BRO, IF YOU HAVE BAD FORM, DON’T RISK INJURY!

Don’t beat yourself up for modifying.

Military Push-Ups

 

This may look VERY similar to the standard push-up, but there is one subtle difference.

Look at my elbows, notice how they aren’t facing outward, they are close to my lats (back muscle).

That’s a very subtle but significant difference between standard and military push-ups.

It’s more about your triceps my friend. 

If you have to go on your knees, I totally get it.

You see, I’ve been doing push-ups for up to fifteen years, this is not that hard for me. 

So again, I’ll say this one more time go on your knees!

There are a few instructions I want to give you for military push-ups:

  • Keep the elbows tucked in towards your lats
  • You should be focusing on your triceps (if you are feeling it anywhere else, you are doing it wrong)
  • The hands must be under the shoulders

Now if you’re curious to the difference between the difference of standard push-ups and military push-ups, read this here.

The Bottom Line

@masculinemindsetcoach

One of the hardest push-ups ever (the key is muscle flexing and engagement) #fitnesscoach #stabilitychallenge #pushups #mobilitytraining #coach

♬ Figure.09 – Linkin Park

 

I really want you to do this bodyweight routine in the following order:

  • Wall Push-Ups Hold for 60 Seconds
  • Knee Push-Ups for 60 Seconds
  • Standard Push-Ups for 60 Seconds
  • Wide Hand Push-Ups for 60 Seconds
  • Military Push-Ups for 60 Seconds

Many people have told me, how do I build strength without dumbbells and barbells?

Just do this workout. You’ll feel it if you don’t take a rest in any of the exercises.

Use a timer on your phone, there are no excuses because success loves speed. 

This is to get you use to doing push-ups regularly.

I know it’s geared towards beginners, however, that’s because there are many more push-up variations that are harder.

For example, just look at the push-up in the video above, that takes SERIOUS core control.

So don’t attempt it my friend, you’ll fall on your face.

It takes every day core training to balance your legs on the Stability Ball.

This is what happens when you take consistent action on doing push-ups.

You can start incorporating medicine balls and the stability ball.

And it starts out by getting good at the fundamentals.

So don’t neglect these. Do this free bodyweight routine.

I take fitness consultations here, however, just letting you know, it’s not free.

He who pays, pays attention and I have no time for people that aren’t committed to making a change.

So don’t waste my time if you’re on the fence. Consult with me here if you’re 100% committed to improving your health.