How To Do Push-Ups For Beginners
Doing push-ups for beginners seems simple: drop to the floor and just do them. But what if you are a complete newbie and can’t? Here is my solution that works for just about everyone!
Push-Ups For Beginners: The Concept
It all depends on picking you up where you stand (or, in this case, want to drop to the floor from).
When you never worked out, are out of shape, overweight and need to build your basic strength, push-ups are difficult. We have to adjust the them to your level of ability.
This means you first do them may need to do them standing (yes!), on your knees and progress from there.
My push-ups for beginners video discusses how to start the exercise and shows you a push-up program you can do at home. It takes you all the way from those very easy wall push-ups to difficult wide push-ups:
That was one of my earlier videos, by the way, where I hadn’t yet worked out lighting. The vague shape moving up and down is me. Not that my videos today offer much improved production values…
Beyond Beginner Push-Ups
The road doesn’t end now that you know how to do push-ups, including wide ones. When you are able to do even 15, 20 or more of those you need something even more difficult. Over here I show you how to do that.
Push-Ups Aren’t Everything!
Push-ups train your chest and triceps, but you also have the muscles in the back and biceps. And very large muscles in your legs. For a complete home workout and a muscular physique you need to train all those too!
You can do it with my free home workout plan for beginners. It needs zero to very little equipment and the push-ups I showed you above are part of it.
Picture courtesy of Pete Bellis.
Always love how you combine mediums.. video lecture briefly, text description, live demonstration. Also the fact you seem pretty non-judgmental and really believe in people.. quite an inspiration to us all!
Thank you Plazma! And yes, I believe that anyone can get fit!
can girls do push ups if follow these steps???
This week I thought I’d switch up my chest routine (incline press, machine chest press, machine flyes, and dips) by doing pushups FIRST.
It showed me that I shouldn’t be doing so many exercises. After three sets to failure my chest was just done for. It was much harder to do, and significantly faster than doing 12 sets of all these various exercises. It was like I just assumed that because I was doing well on pushups months ago that I had somehow surpassed doing them.
I will have to build up to doing them on my fist gradually, because I can do 20 solid pushups on my palms, but can’t do a single one on my fists without feeling like my knuckles are going to break.
What Plazma said: Try some padding or try gloves. It doesn’t even have to be expensive fitness gloves, some simple work gloves can do.
Just tried another set of knee pushups and could only do about three before pain set in. My problem seems to be the pressure that my palm puts on my knuckles that are tucked into it, rather than the knuckles that are making contact with the floor. I tried them with gloves on, and was able to do about ten then before my knuckles hurt again. Wrist and forearm was definitely getting more of a workout than my chest though.
What seems to work better for me is to hold onto a pair of dumbbells. I can’t suspend myself when my knuckles are off the ground because of my weak wrists, but if I use a very light weight where my knuckles are still resting on the ground, then I am much more stable.
I guess this is a variation we can add to the art of manliness’ list.
Yep, dumbbells can substitute as push-up stands.
But give it some time; doing push-ups on your fists takes some getting used to it.
I’m leaving this comment more than five months later from my original post as a success story. It does work! I now do all my pushups on my fists. I’m finally getting some shape to my forearms and strength in my hands, which I was always really embarrassed about.
I feel like doing them on your fists more evenly distributes the effort through all the muscles of your arm and upper body, including your hands and wrists.
Surprisingly to me, this is the best ‘gripping’ exercise I’ve ever had.
Thanks so much, Evil!
Ryan, man, that is great to hear! You did it!
i cannot be able to do push ups and i have tried to much
Start with the easiest, wall push-ups, and work up from there. You can do it, really! 🙂
Yea.. the knuckles part takes time.. I’m a martial artist and we have 2″ foam pads which do help the knuckles (we do a lot of rolling/flipping/falling) but it actually makes it worse on your wrists as the surface is far more unstable than the ground.
You could wrap your wrists at first for a bit just to maybe give you more support, but don’t do it to often.. it’ll just make your wrists weaker in the long run.
Just keep at it, and if you feel joint pain in your wrists, stop immediately and rest it.. and go back to what’s comfortable. The wrist is a complex joint with lots of tiny bones and tendons wrapping around in there
Funny though, i started doing knuckles more because the flat palms started hurting my wrists.
Haha. I thought you were talking about 50 push-ups before reading the boxes 😀
BTW did you say anything about the rest time between sets? With your tips it’s usually been one minute of rest between sets. This time as well?
Should have mentioned that, darn!
Yep, one minute rest between sets.
You said there were some variations of the push-up, thought I would check them out. Some of the push ups shown on the link are just mindblowing to me. Yet more things to aspire to on the fitness road.
Yep, there are just so many variations of this seemingly simple exercise.
Maybe you should add a link to your video that shows some of the advanced variations of push-ups.
Just tried to put in the annotation. It shows up on the edit page, but not the actual video. I love YouTube!
Thank you! I really need some help with mastering push-ups. This is straight-forward, easy to understand and logical progression. I might actually be able to do them one day! 🙂
Deb, you will!
can girls do push ups if follow these steps???
i have tried it but failed to do knee push ups..could u tell me how to work on it ??
Of course girls can learn to do push-ups! If you find them too difficult on the knees, start with the door push-ups.
i started with wall push ups..i have been doing wall push ups for one week ..then i tried knee pushups n failed now i got back to wall push ups again..for how long i have to do it??
Don’t worry, give it a little more time and stay with the wall push-ups a bit longer, until you can do them as often as I said in the video.
You will get there, Rubab, trust me! 🙂
thanks evil 🙂
I have been encountering difficulty in performing pushups at higher reps with subsequent sets.. On Set 1 I could do 20 pushups (dropped to knee pushups after 12rep), but on Set 2 I was only able to do 7 full pushups and 2 knee pushups since the burning began setting in. I decided to give it a slightly longer rest to about 2 min + 5 to 10 secs, and still I only manage to do at best 6 full pushups and 2 knee pushups.
Should I stick to this routine, or should I backtrack to knee pushups completely to increase my reps, OR is it Ok for me to split my pushups sets in the day in order to increase my reps? Your guidance is very much appreciated. 🙂
I’d say we try something completely different: Limit your reps on set 1 to 12. That way you have more reserves for set 2 and 3.
BTW, “Mr. Evil” makes me sound like a villain from a James Bond movie 😀
hey, i’ve been trying out this workout programme for about a week now, and i’ve noticed that the front of my shoulder seems to hurt when i move my arms back. could i be doing anything wrong?
Without seeing how you do them, Zen, I’d say it might be due to a weaker shoulder muscle. You can try to give them a bit of extra work so they catch up:
If the pain persists or gets worse, stop the program and see a doctor, to find out if there is something else wrong.
alright, thanks! 😀
Dear Evil, thank you for sharing your experience and thank you for guidance, very helpful tips and instructions with videos. what do you usually do when you when you feel muscle pain. not actually pain but it feels good when you feel it. i guess exercises working and influencing muscles. as i understood beginners do many mistakes when they exercise. what to do to avoid mistakes and do correctly. every other day that i don’t go to gym i go to the swimming pool or play tennis, is it too much sport. thank you in advance. regards.
What you probably refers to soreness, which is actually a good sign – it shows the muscle is being rebuild.
You shouldn’t do strength exercises on the muscles where you feel the soreness until it is gone, but swimming and tennis are quite alright. Both are a good form of cardio! 🙂
the Video you did is very useful and insightful, so thanks for that!
but the end, it took me 10 minutes just to sit back into my chair, and another 10 just to type this comment.
Kudos to your moderator!
I suppose it worked then 🙂
I try to do 4 sets of press ups to make sure that I’m stretching my muscles but after doing it 2 days I lose my strength and no longer have the strength to even do one set no matter how hard I try ( my arms shake like crazy and I lose my balance)