HomeHealth & FitnessThe Push-up Progression Plan (Get Your First Push-up!)

The Push-up Progression Plan (Get Your First Push-up!)

Today I’m going that can assist you obtain your first push-up!

Yep, I do know that sounds tremendous assured.

But it’s as a result of I’ve a push-up development plan that’s helped a great deal of shoppers in our Online Coaching Program crush their first push-up. 

Here’s what we’ll cowl:

Follow our information and also you’ll be doing “Earth Downs” very quickly:

Text that says "Push-ups? You mean Earth Downs?"

Let’s get began.

What’s the Best Push-up Progression Plan?

As I talk about within the video above, a very powerful a part of your push-up development plan: consistency.

Yeah, I do know, there’s nothing too earth-shattering there.

But it doesn’t matter what your present energy degree is, one of the simplest ways to work in the direction of a push-up is to coach your push muscle groups constantly. No matter the place you’re beginning in the present day.

This is how our friend Mason went from wall push-ups to common push-ups, then all the way in which to diamond push-ups.

Mason before and after

Oh, and he misplaced like 70 kilos alongside the way in which too!

I’ll talk about push-up variations it is best to begin with within the subsequent part. Plus, we’ll wrap up in the present day’s information by discussing simply how usually it is best to prepare your push muscle groups.

Just bear in mind, in order for you your first push-up (and it is best to, trigger push-ups are superior), you then’ll should be per our push-up development plan.



Our first cease on the Push-up Progression Plan: discovering a push-up variation so that you can turn out to be comfy with. Something you are able to do about 8-10 reps with, for about 3-4 units.

To begin, you’ll in all probability prepare with an elevated push-up variation:

Staci doing an elevated push-up

These will likely be simpler than a daily push-up, because the increased the elevation, the much less of your physique’s weight you’ll be lifting through the motion.

Conversely, when you have been to raise your toes, you’d really be lifting greater than a daily push-up:

Elevated push-ups like this are a great way to bodyweight train.

Let’s present a tough breakdown of the proportion of your physique’s weight lifted for various elevations of push-ups.[1]

The Percentage of Body Weight Supported by Our Hands During Push-Ups:

  • 4’ Elevated Push-up (Wall): 9%
  • 3′ Elevated Push-up (Countertop): 20%
  • 2′ Elevated Push-up: 36-41%
  • Knee Push-up: 49%
  • 1′ Elevated Push-up: 54%
  • Regular Push-up: 64%

The technique behind our push-up development plan is to slowly transfer you right down to the bottom, lifting increasingly more of your individual weight as you go.

Think of it like gaining XP in a online game, so sooner or later you’ll have the ability to deal with the ultimate boss: the ground.

A witch going into a basement

It may assist to fake there’s a witch beneath it. 

Alright, let’s present you precisely how one can do a few of these push-up variations.

4 Push-up Variations (to Progress to a Full Push-Up)

A figure doing a push-up

The push-up variations beneath will be considered benchmarks.

If you may’t full 8-10 reps, nbd.

We’ll have you ever prepare on the degree beneath and also you’ll transfer up earlier than you understand it.

Here are 4 variations for our Push-up Progression Plan:

Push-up Progression Level 1: Wall Push-ups

Coach Jim doing a wall push-up

Place your arms on a wall about chest weight (roughly 4′, 48″, or 122 cm). Bend your arms and get as near the wall earlier than pushing again up.

Push-up Progression Level 2: Waist-High Push-ups

Staci showing you an elevated push-up

Place your arms on a floor about waist excessive (roughly 3′, 36″, or 92 cm). Bend your arms and contact your chest to the floor earlier than pushing again up.

Push-up Progression Level 3: Knee-High Push-ups

Coach Jim doing a knee high push-up

Place your arms on a floor about knee excessive (roughly 1.5′, 18″, or 46 cm). Bend your arms and contact your chest to the floor earlier than pushing again up.

Push-up Progression Level 4: Knee Push-ups

Rebel Leader Steve doing knee push-ups

Hold your self up in your arms and knees, with the physique in a straight line from shoulders to knees. Lower right down to the bottom earlier than pushing again up.

FINAL BOSS: Push-ups!

Here Rebel Leader Steve shows you the classic push-up.

You made it to a push-up!

Are you doing them appropriately?

Our subsequent part will dive into the proper type, since it is a information on getting your first correct push-up (I wouldn’t maintain out on you).

But first, you might be asking your self a query: when do I progress as much as the subsequent degree?

For that, I’d advocate downloading our new app (it’s free to check out).

Nerd Fitness Journey will information you thru a exercise routine particularly designed that can assist you get your first push-up, with benchmarks and alerts on when to maneuver up. 

Plus, you get to earn precise XP so that you degree up your very personal superhero!

You can provide it a free check drive proper right here:

What Is the Proper Form for a Push-Up?

The video above walks you thru the proper solution to do a correct push-up, and in addition features a few well-placed jokes from yours really.

Here’s how one can full one good push-up:

  • With your arms straight, glutes clenched, and abs braced, steadily decrease your self till your elbows are at a 90-degree angle or much less.
  • Try to maintain your elbows comparatively near your physique, and hold observe of after they begin to flare out as you get drained.
  • Once your chest (or nostril/chin) touches the ground (or your arms go right down to a 90-degree angle), pause barely after which push again up till you’re on the beginning place.

Here are 4 frequent errors with push-ups:

#1) Make positive you retain your elbows in. Often, newcomers will flare out their elbows when doing a push-up.

A great way to think about this, is you need your physique to seem extra like an ARROW from the highest, not a T.

This infographic on the right push-up type exhibits you need I imply:

As you can see, you want your arms to be like an arrow, not a T when doing push-ups.

#2) Keep your head in step with your physique. We don’t need your head shifting ahead, which may put pointless stress in your neck and stop a full vary of movement.

#3) Keep your hips in step with your physique (no sagging). We need you in a single straight line as you push your physique up and down:

A gif of Coach Jim doing push-ups in a small space.

#4) Attempt to do a full vary of movement together with your push-up (so long as it’s pain-free). Shoot to return all the way in which down, so your chest is touching the bottom or the article you’re doing push-ups towards.

If you need extra assist right here, we now have a full information on how to do proper push-ups, (together with superior variations to strive).

Exercises For Achieving a Full Push-Up

These LEGO characters are on a mission to grow some muscle.

There are two workout routines that can go a good distance in the direction of reaching your first push-up:

  1. Push-up Negatives
  2. Front Planks or Top of Push-up Holds

First, let’s discuss push-up negatives.

“Negative” in train terminology typically means solely doing half of a standard rep, usually reducing the motion.

Coach Jim doing a push-up negative

To do a Push-up Negative

  • Hold your self up on the prime of a push-up, with the physique in a straight line from shoulders to toes.
  • Lower down and contact the bottom, then let the knees relaxation on the bottom that can assist you push again up.
  • You can do a push-up destructive from an elevated floor too.

Next, let’s discuss Front Planks or Holding on the Top of a Push-up.

The plank is a great bodyweight exercise to engage your core muscles.

This is vital for just a few causes:

Holding a plank is perhaps robust for you, so let’s discuss just a few variations you may experiment with.

Hold Level 1: Knee Planks

Coach Jim doing a knee front plank

Hold your self up in your forearms and knees, with the physique in a straight line from shoulders to knees.

Hold Level 2: Front Planks

Coach Staci showing you the front plant

Lie on the ground together with your forearms flat, ensuring that your elbows are aligned instantly below your shoulders.

Engage your core and lift your physique off the ground in a straight line from head to toes, retaining your forearms planted. Try to not let your hips rise or drop.

Hold Level 3: Push-up Hold

Coach Jim holding the top of a push-up

Hold your self up on the prime of a push-up place, with the physique in a straight line from shoulders to toes.

If you observe the Push-up Challenge in NF Journey, you’ll discover that just about each exercise ends with a sort of one in all these holds, since core energy is so essential for push-ups.

Oh, and if you wish to simply strive Nerd Fitness Journey to see what I imply, you are able to do so proper right here:

The Push-up Workout Plan

a doll doing a push-up

Remember earlier after I stated the secret with push-up development is consistency?

To present you what I imply, it’s time to build a workout for conquering push-ups.

I’d advocate three exercises per week for a Push-up Progression Plan, with a relaxation day between.

Could be Monday-Wednesday-Friday or Tuesday-Thursday-Sunday.

As lengthy as there’s a day off between workouts, it’s high quality.

Coach Jim doing elevated push-up

Oh, and when you can solely do two exercises per week, that’s okay too. Just do the most effective you may (even as soon as per week).

The “Get Your First Push-up” Workout is:

  • A Warm-Up
  • 3 or 4 units of a Push-up Variation for 8-10 reps
  • 2 or 3 reps of a Push-up Negative
  • 60 second Plank or Hold

Let’s dive into every of those a bit extra.

Step #1) Warm-up

  • Arm circles: 10x/manner
  • Wrist stretches: 5/facet

Arm circles for push-ups will seem like this:

Arm circles like so are a great way to get your heart rate up before doing HIIT.

Wrist stretches for push-ups will seem like so:

Coach Jim doing wrist stretches backwards

You can at all times do a extra formal warm-up routine, however simply be sure you embrace some variation of those two strikes.

Step #2) Train with a Push-up Variation

Earlier, we went by means of 4 variations that can show you how to get your first push-up.

After your warm-up, it is best to prepare with one in all them.

For our Push-up Progression Plan, I would like you to alternate between two variations:

  • On Day A, do 3 or 4 units of a push-up variation that you are able to do 8-10 reps in.
  • On Day B, do 3 or 4 units of a push-up variation that you are able to do 5-8 reps in (so a tougher variation).

For instance:

  • On Monday perhaps you do 3 units of waist-high push-ups for 10 reps.
  • Wednesday, you are able to do 3 units of knee-high push-ups for 8 reps.
  • Then Friday, again to the waist-high variation.

Step #3) Do a Negative

After you prepare together with your push-up variation, I would like you to aim 2-3 reps of a destructive push-up.

If these are too robust, merely do a better variation, like knee push-up negatives:

Any of the 4 variations we mentioned earlier will be achieved as a “negative.”

These negatives will likely be vital, as they’ll go a good distance in the direction of constructing energy for a daily push-up.

Step #4) Plank/Hold for 60 seconds

We’re going to finish our “Get Your First Push-up” Workout with a maintain:

  • Front Plank
  • Holding the Top of the Push-up

Choose whichever variation you want, however try to carry the place for a full minute, with as few units as attainable.

A plank, like so, is a great way to engage your core.

If you should break up the 60-second maintain, you can:

  • Do three units of 20 seconds every.
  • Do two units of 30 seconds every.

Just goal to go longer and longer as you go. If you may’t make it to a full minute, don’t stress. Just work on holding a knee or elevated plank.

These holds will assist strengthen your core, which will likely be essential for doing push-ups with correct type.

Oh, and in order for you somebody to switch this exercise for you (let’s say you additionally need to do some HIIT for fats loss) our 1-on-1 Online Coaching Program can do exactly that.

Plus, your coach can overview your actions by means of our app so that you’ll know your coaching appropriately and safely.

How to Achieve Your First Push-up (Next Steps)

A man doing push-up in sunset

That ought to provide you with every thing you should get began with the push-up development plan.


The “Get Your First Push-up” Workout is:

  • A Warm-Up
  • 3 or 4 units of a Push-up Variation for 8-10 reps
  • 2 or 3 reps of a Push-up Negative
  • 60 second Plank or Hold

Do this 3 times per week, with a day of relaxation between exercises, and also you’ll be good to go.

Wayne is stoked that he made his small change for weight loss.

As you proceed on the Push-up Progression Plan, bear in mind to maintain pushing tougher. We need you slowly however certainly rising the problem of the exercise (recognized within the biz as “progressive overload.”)

This may very well be:

  • Adding one other rep (8 reps of waist-high push-ups to 9)
  • Adding one other set (3 units of knee push-ups to 4)
  • Moving as much as a tougher variation (waist-high push-ups to knee-high)

Oh, and when you want any assist alongside the way in which, I gotcha boo.

Here’s how one can proceed your journey with Nerd Fitness:

#1) Our Online Coaching Program: good for somebody who desires an professional (like me!) to design the fitting path for conquering push-ups. We’re all totally different, so why not have a coach information you thru a program that’s custom-made for you?

You can schedule a free name with our workforce so we will get to know you and see if our teaching program could be an excellent match. Just click on on the picture beneath for extra particulars:

#2) If you need an actual blueprint for crushing push-ups, take a look at NF Journey. Our enjoyable habit-building app helps you train extra steadily, eat more healthy, and degree up your life (actually).

Plus, our 6-week Push-up Challenge has helped fairly just a few Rebels obtain their first push-up!

Katie talking about how she got her first push-up using NF Journey

Try your free trial proper right here:

#3) Join the Rebellion! We want good individuals such as you in our group, the Nerd Fitness Rebellion. You’ll meet people from all totally different walks of life, all of whom try to degree up their lives. 

Sign up within the field beneath to enlist and get our “Strength Training 101: Everything You Need to Know” information, which can train you precisely how one can develop robust sufficient to rock push-ups:

Alright, I need to hear from you now:

Can you do a correct push-up?

If not, what degree are you on?

Are we lacking any useful solutions for a newbie?

Let me know within the feedback!


PS: Check out the remainder of our guides on doing push-ups:


Photo supply: Gecko push-upFigure push-up; 102, 103, 104…; doll push-up, push-up sunset;



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