How To Do A Push Up Correctly For Beginners To Advanced

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3 Push Up Progressions From Beginner To Advanced

On today’s episode of Live Lean TV, I’m showing you how to do a push up correctly for beginners to advanced.

We filmed this in a beautiful location at Central Park in New York City.

Since it wasn’t quite spring time yet, the tank top had to stay on 😂.

In addition to sharing examples of the right way versus the wrong way to do push ups, in this push up tutorial I’m also showing 3 push up progressions.

These 3 beginner, intermediate, and advanced push up modifications can be used by both men and women.

That’s right ladies, you also need to be doing push ups to get nice, lean, and toned arms.

What Muscles Do Push Ups Work?

The push up targets many of the “mirror muscles”.

In other words, the muscles you always check out when you look at yourself in the mirror.

Push ups work the following muscles:

  • chest
  • shoulders
  • triceps

However, to optimally strengthen and grow these muscles, it’s important to learn how to do a push up correctly.

Proper Form + Proper Coaching Tips = Faster Results

The military use the push up as an exercise to test how fit recruits really are.

5 Live Lean Fitness Tests You Should Be Able To Do

Many personal trainers also call the push up the ultimate bodyweight and calisthenics exercise.

Plus, one of the biggest benefits of the push up is you can do it anywhere, at anytime, without the need of any equipment or space.

Based on your current fitness level, you can use these 3 push up modifications to learn how to progress, or regress, the difficulty of the push up, so you can keep challenging your body.

Here is how to do a push up correctly for beginners, as well as more advanced push up progressions.

Beginner Push Up Modification: Push Up On Knees

Here are a few coaching tips on a beginner push up modification, the push up from knees.

To get started:

  1. Place your knees on the floor. If you have access to one, use an exercise mat, since kneeling on the hard floor can hurt your knees.
  2. Cross your ankles to lock them together behind you.
  3. One of the key coaching points is to position your hands directly below your shoulders, not forward or behind your shoulders.
  4. Keep your core tight and engaged to keep your body in a straight line, with a flat back. This will prevent your hips from sagging or positioning your butt too high into the air. That is not a push up.
  5. Once you are ready, bend your elbows and slowly lower your body towards the floor.
  6. Push your hands through the floor to extend your arms and push your body back to the top.
  7. Complete as many reps as you can.

If your push up on knees form looks like this, you’re doing it wrong.

Another beginner modification is the incline push up.

How Many Push Ups On Knees Should A Beginner Do?

If you are beginner male or female, strive for 10-15 push ups on knees.

Once you can easily complete 10-15 reps, it’s time to progress up to the intermediate push up progression.

Intermediate Push Up Modification: Push Up

Here are a few coaching tips on the intermediate push up modification.

To get started:

1. Get down on the floor with your arms straight, hands just outside shoulder width, and directly below your shoulders.
2. Ensure your body maintains a straight line from your feet to your head. Keep your abs, glutes, quads, and hamstrings tight throughout the movement to keep your body rigid in a straight line, while reducing any sagging,
3. To lower your body to the ground, bend your elbows until your chest hovers just above the ground.
4. Contract your chest and triceps to push yourself back up to the beginning position.
5. Repeat for reps.

If your push up form looks like this, you’re doing it wrong.

Remember, when it comes to push ups, it’s not just about the number of reps you can complete.

The quality of the rep is more important than the quantity of reps.

To improve the quality of each rep, focus on making every single push up count.

You can do this by focusing on keeping the tension on your chest, as much as you possibly can.

Focus On Quality Over Quantity

Don’t just go through the motions of the push up as fast as you can.

Sure you may feel it in your shoulders, but the primary muscle worked should be your chest.

If you’re not primarily feeling tension in your chest, slow it down and focus on the contraction, not speed.

The mind to muscle connection is so key with any exercise that you’re doing.

How To Create More Tension In Your Chest During A Push Up

Before starting any exercise, think about the targeted muscle, then initiate the movement by contracting that muscle.

When it comes to the push up, before you begin the eccentric lowering of your body down towards the floor, first contract your chest.

In other words, get your pecs pumping.

Once the targeted muscle is contracted, then you can lower yourself towards the floor, then back up again.

You should always be thinking about firing the muscle you are working.

This is a little tip that a lot of the people at the gym get wrong.

Rather than focusing on high quality reps, they just try to do as many reps as possible.

It’s not about the number or reps or the amount of weight you’re lifting.

It’s more important to focus on creating tension in the targeted muscle.

Important Push Up Tips That Everyone Ignores

To create the most tension in your chest during a push up, rather than thinking about pushing your body away from the ground, think about pushing the ground away from you.

Then when you’re lowering your body to the ground, think about pushing your hands together.

Following these coaching cues will help you create as much tension in your chest as you possibly can.

How Many Push Ups Should An Intermediate Trainee Do?

Regardless if you’re a male or female, once you get to a point where you can pretty easily complete 20-25 push ups, then you can move up to the advanced push up progression.

Advanced Push Up Modification: Decline Push Up

It’s always important to keep progressing your workouts, so here is the advanced push up modification, the decline push up.

To get started:

  1. Put your feet up on a bench. This will make the push up even more difficult.
  2. Next, focus on the same coaching points as mentioned earlier. Start by positioning your hands directly below your shoulders.
  3. Since your hips tend to sag during the decline push up, it’s very important to first tighten your core and contract your glutes. This will keep your hips from sagging, and ensure your body is in a straight line.
  4. Once your body is stiff like a board, bend your elbows to lower your body towards the ground. As you’re lowering down, think about pushing your hands inwards to create even more tension in your chest.
  5. Press the ground away from you to extend your arms and get back to the top of the push up.

If your incline push up form looks like this, you’re doing it wrong.

I Hope You Enjoyed This Push Up Tutorial With Progressions

There you go.

Hopefully you enjoyed that tutorial on how to do a push up correctly for beginners to advanced, using 3 different modifications.

If you enjoyed this push up tutorial video, you can find more exercise tutorial videos in every gym and home workout program in on our members Inner Circle, Team Live Lean.

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Question Of The Day:

  • Which push up progression level are you currently at?
  • How many push ups can you do in a row?

Share your experiences in the comment section below.

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28 responses to “How To Do A Push Up Correctly For Beginners To Advanced

  1. I didn’t know the proper way to do a push-up was to push the ground away
    from you and not used your body to push yourself up.

  2. The video really helps me thanks! By the way, do I have to hold my breath
    while pressing down my body? What’s the correct breathing process during
    the push ups?

  3. I was expecting some better “wrong” examples, lol. I do have a question
    about hand placement, should the elbows be close to the body more military
    style or flare out a bit?

  4. Hey Brad this is Joseph Rodriguez I changed my youtube name because you
    inspired me to make a fitness youtube channel, i just started so check me
    out at JRod Fitness, I learned everything from you my brother!

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