Think learning to do a real push-up is impossible? Think again! Here’s how to do a push up and why it’s worth doing.

Learn How to do a Pushup and Why You Should

Think learning to do a real push-up is impossible? Think again! Here’s how to do a push up and why it’s worth doing.

I finally learned how to do a push up after years of going about it all wrong. Pushups are an amazing whole body exercise and worth mastering to get the benefits. Free printable pushup tracker included.

How to do a Pushup!

I made it a goal almost two years ago to learn how to do a full body pushup. You know, the pushup where your body is straight. That seems impossible to most of us women.

I worked really hard for a long time, building up the number of modified pushups with knees bent, often called “girl’s pushups,” that I could do.

To my surprise, even after getting to the point where I could do 50+ modified pushups, I couldn’t do a single full body pushup.

Here’s how to learn to do a push up and why it’s worth doing. I finally learned how to do a push up after years of going about it all wrong. Pushups are an amazing whole body exercise and worth mastering to get the benefits

That’s when I began to research and learned that I was doing it all wrong! Some articles I read said that pushups done with knees on the floor don’t EVER lead to being able to do a full body pushup.

That was true for me—I was not even able to do one.

It was so disappointing. Of course there are benefits to what I was doing. My arms looked good but I was not reaching a goal I wanted to reach.

So, before you dismiss the idea of learning to do a full pushup, I want to share some of the benefits that are unique to the full pushup.

It has way more benefits than the knee on the floor pushups and I hope this will encourage you to consider training your body to do this great exercise.

The benefits of doing push-ups for women

Push-ups give you an amazing looking shoulder, back and chest.

Push-ups use many muscles in your body

This exercise truly uses all your major muscle groups and forces them to work together, making it one of the most efficient exercises there is.

Push-ups are great for your abs

Getting a tight midsection can be challenging. Pushups, with all the strength and stabilizing required give the abs a thorough workout.

Pushups improve your posture. Good posture not only makes us look fitter, it can make you look younger.

Push-ups work stabilizing muscles as well as your major muscles. This helps protect against injury.

Pushups can be done almost anywhere, without special equipment, and they are free.

Push-ups teach your body balance and stability.

Push-ups build confidence!

Learn How to Do a Pushup

Learning to do a push-up is a process. Don’t worry about doing a full push-up on the floor. Most of us can’t do that and may never be able to do it comfortably.

Yet, doing some kind of push-ups is incredibly good for your body and making your shoulders look amazing.

I do push-ups in sets of three. For example, right now I do three sets of 20 incline push-ups, two or three times a week.

They are challenging but I can do them with good form. Using good form is so important to get the best results.

The Trick to Learning How to Do a Push-up

Here’s the trick to learning to do a pushup. Start on an incline.

You can start against the wall. Or on a kitchen counter. It’s okay if you can only do a couple. Start where you can at least do one.

When you learn to do a pushup, you can start on an incline to build strength and stability.

When I started doing my pushups on an incline, I used the back of benches in the park, my kitchen counter, anything that was about the right height.

And it was hard even though it was on an incline. No matter how hard one is, if you can do one, you can progress.

If you can’t do one, then find a higher incline and work on that for a while. It took me a few months to brave doing one on the floor but I did get there.

How to Use Incline Push-ups to Build Strength

Against the Wall Pushups

Start with standing push-ups on the wall. Stand an arm’s length away from the wall with feet shoulder-width apart and hands flat on the wall.


Keeping a flat back, slowly lean in until your chest is almost touching the wall, bending and tucking the elbows close to the body.

On a Bench Push-ups 

Once you can perform your pushups correctly against the wall, move to a lower incline on an exercise bench if you have one. I often use my kitchen or bath counter to perform push-ups.

With your hands on a bench and feet straight behind the body, perform a normal pushup, keeping your elbows close to the body. This is going to be much more difficult than against the wall.

Just keep at it and your body will get the hang of it. Your arm strength is just part of the equation. Your core, shoulders, back, legs, and butt also need to learn how to do this move.

On the Floor Push-ups

Start in plank position, with your hands under but slightly outside of your shoulders.

In a pushup, position your arms just outside your shoulders.

Lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor. Keep your core as stable as possible.

Tuck your elbows close to your body as you lower towards the floor. Pause briefly, then push yourself back to starting position. Repeat. If your body sags, consider that your last rep and end this set.

My Think Big Life Pushup Tracker

Some final words on how to do a pushup

In my list of benefits, I said that push-ups give you confidence. It’s really true.

Very few women can do a proper pushup. No, it doesn’t come easily or naturally but with perseverance and a system, it’s totally doable.

I feel more confident about everything since learning how to do a pushup. Even though I was in good shape without being able to do one, I feel stronger and more stable all over.

For whatever reason, I feel extremely proud of being able to do this. Maybe because for so long, I thought it was impossible.

Now having learned to do an “impossible” thing, maybe there are other “impossible” things to attempt.

So, if learning how to do a pushup is something you’ve been wanting to do, I really encourage you to give it a try.

Keep in mind that it’s a process and it might take weeks or months to do that proper pushup. But you are getting benefits to your body no matter where you begin or how long it takes.

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Sara

Hi, I'm Sara! As a counselor and college advisor/coach, I've helped thousands of people make positive changes in their lives. Join me on the adventure of thinking big and living well!

5 Comments

  1. Rev on June 22, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    I had no idea that push ups were so powerful. I’ve only done them on my knees but now I gotta go find an incline and do them right. Thanks!

    • Sara on June 23, 2016 at 9:16 am

      Modified push ups with bent knees are a great exercise too. But if your goal is to do a regular push up; they don’t get you there. I have always wanted to do a “real” push up and this method finally got me there. Best of luck!

  2. Fabiola Rodriguez on May 19, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    Awesome! I also spent years doing push-ups on my knees without ever getting results until I tried doing them on an incline. From there, I worked up to doing them at a lower angle until I was finally able to do them on the floor. Now, I’m working on doing push-ups with my feet elevated. Such an amazing exercise! My arms are not jelly flabby anymore!

    -Fabi at wonderfabi.wordpress.com

    • Sara on May 19, 2016 at 10:21 pm

      Fabi, thank you for sharing that! I’m just able to do them on the floor but it is an incredible feeling.

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Hi, I'm Sara and I'm so happy you're here! My Think Big Life began shortly after I turned 50. Big changes can happen with a small start, an adjustment of thought, or a simple process. Over time, you transform your life into the one you always dreamed of having.

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