Push ups are a simple exercise in which you push yourself off the ground by pressing through the hands: simple yet not exactly easy to complete. A push up is one of those staple movements in fitness that I feel all of us women should feel confident and capable completing. So, I put together this mini push up plan for all of us looking to get better at push ups.
WHY I WANT TO GET BETTER AT PUSH UPS
Like I just mentioned, I believe push ups along with exercises such as pull ups, deadlifts, squats and the bench press are foundational movements and ones we should be able to complete. I personally feel there is something empowering about being able to move your bodyweight
THE 4 STEP MINI PUSH UP PLAN OVERVIEW
Let’s glance at what this mini plan entails. There are 4 steps and each one builds in difficulty. Each step is not to be completed at one time; rather, for a few weeks, you’ll work on adding in step one. After 3-5 workouts of including step 1, you’ll then include both step 1 and step 2. A few weeks after doing that, you’ll add in step 3, completing step 1, 2 and 3 and so on until you’re pushing up like a pro.
STEP 1: STRENGTHEN WITH A CHEST PRESS
If we’re going to be focusing on improving our push up game then we need to strengthen the muscles used in the exercise. Although compound movements like a push up recruit many muscle groups, the exercise primarily engages the chest, triceps and shoulder muscles. Therefore, we will work on strengthening that area with a chest press exercise.
This exercise can be completed on a bench with a barbell or dumbbells or on the floor to make it slightly easier. Focus on increasing the weight and/or reps with each workout where you include a chest press. Aim for 3 sets of 15 reps.
STEP 2: INCLINE PUSH UPS
If you want to get better at a movement, you need to complete the movement. Once we’ve laid a foundation of strength in the upper body, we can begin going for the push up motion. Performing the exercise on an incline makes it easier while still allowing us to work through the exercise.
The greater the incline, the easier it will be, so if you need extra assistance that is how you can modify this exercise. I suggest 3 sets of 15 reps of this movement. As you progress, decrease the incline.
STEP 3: KNEE PUSH UPS
Eventually, incline push ups will feel rather easy to complete. When you hit this point, you’ll know it’s time to move to the ground… we are getting way closer to a push up. Complete a push up but from your knees to minic the motion of a push up but at an “easier” level. Keep your knees touching the ground as you lower your body and push up while maintaining a flat back and engaged core. This knee variation reduces the amount of bodyweight you’ll be pushing up.
I suggest performing 3 sets of 8-15 knee push ups. When you first begin these push ups, you may not to be able to complete a lot if you’re a beginner. If you’re more advanced and just looking to improve your push ups overall, then shoot for 15-25 reps.
STEP 4: PUSH UPS!
Finally, it’s time to push up! If you are really new to push ups, just shoot for a few of them. If you are looking to advance your push up game, go for reps here! AND, if you’re really advanced, try out decline push ups.
When at step 4, you’ll be focusing on getting more reps with each push up set. Still, I never suggest working to complete failure.
The overall goal of this Push Up Mini Plan is to build up our ability to complete push ups and lots of them. We begin by strengthening the muscles of the upper body, specifically the chest, triceps and shoulder muscles. Then, we focus on working the push up motion through beginning with incline push ups, moving to push ups off our knees and eventually the real deal push ups. Finally, we advance into improving our total push ups reps. It’s a challenging yet empowering process!