Working Up to Doing More Push-Ups

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Push-ups are one of those classic exercises that you see included in a vast variety of workout routines and programs. But what if you can’t do ten push-ups or even one? Don’t be discouraged—there are many variations of push-ups you can start out with that will help you work up to a standard push-up. Here are the progressions that you can try.

Wall Push-Ups

The most beginner-friendly variation on a push-up is the wall push-up, where you stand upright, putting your hands on the wall in front of you, and perform your push-up vertically. These are a great place to start for getting your push-up reps in until you’re ready for the next variation.

Incline Push-Ups

The next progression will be incline push-ups, where you put your hands on some surface that is raised above the floor so your body is at an angle to the ground. These are easier than standard push-ups but more challenging than wall push-ups.

Knee Push-Ups

Once you’re ready to get your hands on the floor, you can start with knee push-ups, which means you keep your weight balanced between your hands and knees. (And no, there’s nothing “girly” about this variation; anyone can do it.)

Slow Push-Up Descents

One final progression that can help you work up to doing more standard push-ups is working on doing the descent from a plank (standard push-up) position to the floor slowly, taking about five seconds. This will increase your push-up strength.