How to Start Doing Push-Ups: A Step-by-Step Guide

Push-ups are one of the best exercises you can do to work your chest, shoulders, arms, and core. The best part is, you don't need any equipment and you can do them anywhere. In this article, we'll walk you through the exact progressions to go from not being able to do a push-up to mastering this exercise. Whether you're a beginner or someone who hasn't exercised in years, you'll find value in this guide.

Using a Bench

Many people recommend starting with wall push-ups, but we believe that using a bench or similar surface is more effective. Find a bench or bed that is about as tall as your mid-body or hip. This semi-horizontal position engages your core while making the exercise easier. Start by holding this position and feeling the activation in your core, arms, and chest. Slowly lower yourself a few inches to get a feel for the movement. As you get stronger, you'll be able to come all the way down and do full push-ups.

Knee Push-Ups

If you're not ready for full push-ups yet, knee push-ups are a great progression. Use a yoga mat or pillow to cushion your knees. Start in a similar position as the bench push-ups, but with your knees on the ground. Engage your core and glutes as you lower yourself and press back up. Over time, you can progress to doing proper toe push-ups.

Tempo Push-Ups

Once you can do 10 push-ups, you can start incorporating tempo push-ups. These involve controlling the descending portion for about three seconds, pausing for one second at the bottom, and then exploding back up. Tempo push-ups create more tension on the chest and increase muscular activation.

Advanced Variations

Once you've mastered the basic push-up variations, you can try more advanced variations like weighted push-ups, incline push-ups, and deficit push-ups. These variations build on the foundation you've established and continue to challenge your strength and coordination.


Starting to do push-ups may seem challenging at first, but with consistent practice and progression, you'll be able to do them in no time. Remember to focus on form and quality over quantity, and don't be discouraged if you need to start with easier variations. Keep pushing yourself and you'll get stronger with each workout. Happy push-up training.

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