Can’t Do Push-Ups? Try This!

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If you’ve clicked on this video, it’s probably because you’re struggling with pushups.

Maybe you can’t do a single push-up yet.

I want to give you some tools so that you can work your way up.

I’ve already done a video with 22 push-up variations.

So there’s a lot of fun stuff to try.

But this video is designed specifically for beginners who are struggling with pushups.

And at the end, I’m going to give you three important cues to get your pushups looking way better. At the end, I’m also going to share how you can practice these pushups, how often, and how many reps in order to get the results that you want.

Push-Ups From Your Knees

So let’s talk about pushups from your knees for a second. Most people think of this as the natural regression from a regular pushup, while they can be effective. The angle is quite different from a regular pushup. They can actually be quite challenging if you do them properly all the way down with a full range of motion.

So we’re going to start off with something even more basic than that.

Incline Push-Ups

You want to try doing your pushup at an angle. And the easiest way to start off is just doing a pushup against the wall. So you can control your angle there. You need to adjust your hands a little bit and you want to come down as far as you can. But obviously your range of motion is a bit limited for this one.

If those aren’t challenging enough for you, then you can work your way down onto a bench. Now this makes the pushup a little bit easier, but you’re still working the same muscle groups and going through the full range of motion.


Negative Push-Ups

So the next option is the negative pushups. In this case, you’re basically only doing the lowering action.










You’re training those muscles to work eccentrically and then the hardest part, which is coming up from the bottom. Initially, you’re not going to be doing that.

You’re still training the muscles to do the lowering action. Eventually you’ll be able to build a little bit more strength to get the perfect push up.

Now for these negative pushups, I recommend that you do three sets of 10 reps. Then you’re doing 10 negative pushups, then you’re going to rest for, let’s say a minute or two, because you fully want to recover your strength.

You don’t want to rush into it. And then you’re going to do another set of 10. Then rest again for another one to two minutes, recover and then do your third set.

Core Strength For Push-Ups

One of the things that people struggle with when it comes to pushups is maintaining their body position. So they don’t have enough core strength to hold their body type.

They’re lifting their butt. Or they’re letting their butt sag down and that’s not good pushup technique.

So it might be because you’re not strong enough in your abs and back to stabilize and a good way to develop this and practice it is to do either planks or planks to push-ups.

Plank Holds To Get To Push-Ups

So you’re just doing a plank hold and you might try doing that for 30 seconds. Initially work your way up to a minute.


You can also do the plank to push up because that gives you a little bit of shoulder work. It allows you to practice the stability as you go from the bottom to the top. I really like the way the plank to push up helps you train your body as you’re moving up and down. And that’s the difference between just holding a static plank.

High Plank Position

Now, if you’re really struggling to hold that position, you just don’t have the strength in your shoulders yet you can just practice the high plank position. So you’re just in the pushup position and you’re going to do a static hold see if you can do that for a minute, maybe two.

And then you gently start to bend your elbows a little bit. So you can actually work your way up into half push-ups or you’re only going part of the way down and then back up. And for a lot of people, the half sort of pushup is about the best that they get too. But I want you to be able to train a perfect pushup where you’re coming all the way down, leading with your chest, and then pushing back up again.

Push-Ups With A Suspension Trainer

Another option is to try push-ups with a suspension trainer. It’s a little bit tricky in that you have to keep your balance. So there’s a lot more shoulder stability involved in using the suspension trainer for a pushup. Then there would be just doing a pushup on the floor, but it’s a good way to train the stability at a different angle.

Three Cues For Improving Your Push-Ups

Push Through Your Hands

Type of pushup you’re doing, one cue is to push through your entire hand. So you want to push out right through the fingers, try not to roll your wrist from side to side. Sometimes people get wrist pain because of that. So really push the hands flat, push through into the floor and then use that to drive yourself up.

Focus On Your Upper Back

Another thing that’s important is focusing on your upper back. As you’re coming down, you bring the chest through. You’re pulling the shoulders back and then forward, back and forward.

Scapular Push-Ups

So being able to have that shoulder stability is really important for a good push-up. If you find that’s the area that you’re struggling with, and you can actually do a scapular pushups. So you’re holding the push-up position and you’re going to drop down, put the chest down and then pull the shoulders together at the back. So you’re thinking about the shoulder blades coming together

And then pushing forward again and then bringing them together and then pushing forward.

So you can practice these three sets of 10 reps. If you feel that you need some more shoulder work and the third two is pushing into your heels and into your feet. So this is part of what we were talking about before with the plank exercise, you want to really focus on pushing through, tightening up the whole body and holding.

Keep that core tight as you move through the pushup.

How Often Should You Do Push-Ups?

Now it’s really important not to go crazy with pushups. You don’t need to do them every day. I know some people like to do that as a bit of a challenge. I’m going to do pushups every day for a month or something like that. But it’s not really necessary. And if you want to develop the strength and the endurance over time to do more pushups, then it’s actually better to take a day off in between.

Your muscles are recovering and growing in between, and you’re developing your neuromuscular coordination to do that push-up and that can take several weeks to some months. So at most do pushups every other day. And give yourself a bit of a break and try other exercises in between as well. You want to balance it out.

Pushups are very chest focusedĀ  and shoulder focused. You want to do some back work as well, so you don’t end up hunched forward and tight at the front.

No more than three times a week for your pushups. And if you’re working on negative pushups, which I think is the best way to work out, if you’re almost at the point of being able to do pushups, then do three sets of 10 reps. As I described before, with one to two minutes in between, please hit the like button.

If any of these pushups tips were helpful for you, please do leave me a comment and let me know how it’s going.

Ivana Chapman

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Ivana Chapman

Ivana Chapman

Ivana Chapman BSc BA CSCS is a Canadian fitness and nutrition coach, happy wife, and mom to an energetic 6-year-old boy. She is a writer, published fitness model, speaker, 3rd Dan black belt in Shotokan Karate, former World Cup Karate Champion, one-time marathoner, and CBBF National level Natural Bikini competitor. She loves weight training and chocolate, not always in that order of preference.
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