It’s possible for women to be able to do full form push ups, and here’s how.
In today’s video I explain optimal form for ideal push up strength, modifications and methods to progress your pushups, and why modifying with the knees-down version is not the best way to actually get stronger at this exercise.
If you have a goal to get stronger and better at push ups but you don’t know how then this video is a must-watch.
Here’s what to do first:
Do you have a mental limitation on how many pushups you can do?Do you believe you aren’t and never will be strong enough to achieve your goal?
You might not even be aware of it.
If I were to ask you: How many full form pushups can you do?
And your answer is something like: “pfff…none. Maybe one. I’m super weak”
But then we got down on the ground to test you, I showed you proper form, I encouraged you to keep trying, and you were actually able to do 5 in a row… that would be a clear sign that the main thing standing in your way is your own mental limitation.
Whatever the mind can believe, the body can achieve
I know it sounds cliche, but I can tell you from personal experience and from so many years of coaching others that this is TRUE!
Whatever the conversation in our head is…it’s important.
If you don’t believe you can do something, you’ve already proven yourself right.
So your first step is this:
There are plenty of women in this world that can do 20, 30 or even more consecutive reps of push ups.
Why not you?
If you can see that it’s possible for people like you, then you can start to believe it’s possible for you too.
The next thing is Goal Setting
Are you just doing “as many as you can”? or “as many as you feel like”?
Or… Are you striving towards a specific goal number?
Often times you will surprise yourself when you set a goal, you will dig deep and find motivation that didn’t exist before.
It feels really damn good to achieve a number that you doubted you could do.
I recommend you set a goal for yourself that is both ambitious and achievable.
A goal that you know you will have to really strive for, but you also believe is possible with enough effort.
Nobody “feels” like pushing themselves out of their comfort zone or grinding through those last most difficult reps.
It takes discipline and desire to achieve goals.
You wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t already have that desire.
So the only things left to question are your beliefs and your discipline.
If you don’t want it bad enough, don’t believe it’s possible, or don’t discipline yourself to do it even when you don’t feel like it, then you’re not going to achieve your highest potential.
Onto the physical action steps.
Here are some thing you can start applying to your workouts right away:
Hand positioning is important.
There’s no “wrong” hand placement, and once you get good at pushups you can start to play with all kinds of variations.
But for beginners, it’s ideal to start in the position that provides optimal strength.
Put your hands directly below your shoulders.
Thumbs lined up with armpits.
Be sure that your elbows are not too flared out and also not too tight to your body.
Aim for a middle neutral elbow position
Shoulders should be rolled back and down rather than forward and up.
Keep your neck in a neutral position with your face looking at the ground.
Tighten up your core muscles and be sure your body is forming a STRAIGHT LINE from shoulders to heels
Tighten your abs, glutes, and quads.
Knees should be straight.
Legs flexed and feet about hip width apart.
Avoid any sagging in the middle like this:
Sagging middle can be a sign that you are lacking the core strength to execute full form push ups.
You might actually surprise yourself when you get all the right form cues lined up and you try pushups again.
After applying all these form cues, try to press up and see what happens.
Really press your palms into the ground while keeping your full body flexed and tight.
You might surprise yourself!
Assuming you can do Zero full form push ups, even after learning those form tips…. Here’s what I want you to do.
Work with that full plank position.
Try pressing up from the bottom.
Try lowering down from the top.
What is the sticking point? — Where do you get stuck?
Where is the strength lacking from?
Is it your core?
Is it your upper body?
Once you get some answers on which part is the weakest link you can start taking some actions to build specific strength in specific area.
If you find your core is giving out first:
Get into the top of the push up full plank position and hit start on your timer.
Hold your core tight, consciously focusing on pulling your belly button up while keeping your form still in a straight line. (Tip: the mirror is a big help with ensuring your form is right).
Once you lose form, stop the timer and benchmark yourself.
Make a mental note (or written note) of how long you were able to hold tight for.
Next time you practice again be sure to go just a few seconds longer.
You now have a starting point which can help you set those ambitious and achievable goals.
If your weaker part was upper body strength:
There are many chest and upper body exercises you can do but not are more similar to the Push Up than this one.
The range of motion is very similar but it isolates the upper body.
You can start with lighter dumbbells, then over time, increase the amount of weight you use to gradually build up your strength.
I recommend starting with a weight that is challenging for you to complete 10 perfect form reps with. Do at least 3 sets with each training session and include this type of training at least 3 times per week to get stronger.
Start in the full plank position.
Slowly bend your elbows as you lower your CHEST to the ground.
This is important.
The chest should be the first part to reach the ground, not the belly.
Once your chest is on the ground, bend your knees and push backward to work your way back up, instead of pressing vertically back up.
Reset at the tops and do it again.
Continue these lowering reps for a goal number (not just as many as you feel like, but actually choose a number).
If you are struggling a lot I would recommend just starting with 3.
Complete 3 reps of negatives. Rest about 1 minute, then repeat again, and again for a 3rd set.
Each time you practice these try to add one additional rep to each set.
By the time you work up to being able to do 10 consecutive reps of these you should be able to do at least 1 full pushup.
Place a yoga block or stack of books under your chest.
Lower your chest to touch the block or books, then press back up to the top.
To progress yourself start with a higher stack and lower it to challenge yourself further.
Once you can complete 10 good reps with a higher level, lower the level and set a new number goal with the deeper range of motion.
This method is a great way to progress your strength in both your core and upper body.
It will also help build your confidence and train you to maintain full form with your pushups while making them more doable in the meantime.
These methods are all more effective than the knees-down modification at actually getting you stronger.
Knees-down push ups are okay for just getting the reps done but they don’t do much for your strength progression.
I have full confidence that applying these tips will totally transform the way you do push ups and your strength at them.
If you need a good program to follow that will help strengthen your push ups and every other exercise too, Follow our latest Team Live Lean program SPRING INTO HIIT
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