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5 Steps Towards Your First Push Up

When you hear the words “we’re going to do push-ups” there might be some feelings of anxiety, stress, and frustration that may follow with those words because in the past you may have struggled with doing them.

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That’s totally fair. Doing push-ups is super challenging, especially when you’ve had struggles in the past doing them before. We are here to help and want to give you solutions to those problems.


Here are the steps we take to help our members progress into doing their first push-up!


Step One: PUPP


Begin with the Push Up Position Plank or as we call it a PUPP. The reason we want to begin with the plank is because it allows for you to strengthen the upper body and the core. While you’re holding yourself up by pushing into the ground you are strengthening the chest and while your hips stay leveled with your shoulders you’re strengthening your core. Both are what sets the foundation for creating a strong push up.

Cues

Hands shoulder width apart and underneath your shoulders

Hips aligned with your shoulders in a straight line.

Press your palms into the ground and create tension.


Action steps for the next few weeks

Week One 10-15 seconds 3 to 5 rounds with 30-45 seconds of recovery

Week Two 15-20 seconds 3 to 5 rounds with 30-45 seconds of recovery

Week Three 25-35 seconds 3 to 5 rounds with 30-45 seconds of recovery

Week Four 35-45 seconds 3 to 5 rounds with 30-45 seconds of recovery


Step Two: Yoga Block Push Up L1


Rather than trying to force yourself to do the hardest shit, we want to begin with something you will be successful with. Your next progression with building up the push up is to introduce the yoga block push up. We want to introduce movement into the plank but without compromising our integrity of the plank. The yoga block allows for you to bring the floor closer to you, this way you don’t have to travel as far down and train your body to get used to this new movement.

Cues

Hands shoulder width apart and underneath your shoulders

Hips aligned with your shoulders in a straight line.

Lower your chest down to the block while making an arrow with your elbows.

Press your palms into the ground and raise yourself back up.


Action steps for the next few weeks

Week One 5-8 reps 3 to 5 rounds with 30-45 seconds of recovery

Week Two 6-10 reps 3 to 5 rounds with 30-45 seconds of recovery

Week Three 8-12 reps 3 to 5 rounds with 45-60 seconds of recovery

Week Four 10-15 reps 3 to 5 rounds with 45-60 seconds of recovery


Step Three: Yoga Block Push Up L2


The next progression is to lower the level of the block, this can be tricky for some people. If this is the case where you are struggling I would suggest using two blocks to help you with progressing forward. You may find yourself at this level for a while and that’s completely fine. The goal is to get yourself stronger and more comfortable with the motion as you get lower to the floor.

Cues

Hands shoulder width apart and underneath your shoulders

Hips aligned with your shoulders in a straight line.

Lower your chest down to the block while making an arrow with your elbows.

Press your palms into the ground and raise yourself back up.


Action steps for the next few weeks

Week One 2-5 reps 4 to 5 rounds with 30-45 seconds of recovery

Week Two 3-5 reps 4 to 5 rounds with 30-45 seconds of recovery

Week Three 4-6 reps 3 to 5 rounds with 45-60 seconds of recovery

Week Four 6-8 reps 3 to 5 rounds with 45-60 seconds of recovery


Step Four: Yoga Block Push Up L3


The last progression with the yoga block, this is where things get even harder. I would strongly suggest to start with lower repetitions. Recording yourself during your push-ups is important because it allows for you to see where you may need to focus more on. If you are seeing your hips drop or go to high remember to keep them leveled with your shoulders. If your head is dropping forward in the bottom position, remember to keep your ears pulled back.

Cues

Hands shoulder width apart and underneath your shoulders

Hips aligned with your shoulders in a straight line.

Lower your chest down to the block while making an arrow with your elbows.

Press your palms into the ground and raise yourself back up.


Action steps for the next few weeks

Week One 2-4 reps 4 to 5 rounds with 45-60 seconds of recovery

Week Two 3-5 reps 4 to 5 rounds with 45-60 seconds of recovery

Week Three 3-5 reps 3 to 5 rounds with 45-60 seconds of recovery

Week Four 4-6 reps 3 to 5 rounds with 45-60 seconds of recovery


Step Five: Push Up


Congratulations you made it to the last step!! Push-ups are now a new skill you’ve learned and this is the new beginning of many more variations you can add. The trick here is to keep all the skills you’ve learned building up to this point. Once the basics of the exercise gets compromised by ego, you will begin to lean towards potential risk of injury.

Cues

Hands shoulder width apart and underneath your shoulders

Hips aligned with your shoulders in a straight line.

Lower your chest down to the block while making an arrow with your elbows.

Press your palms into the ground and raise yourself back up.


Action steps for the next few weeks

Week One 2-4 reps 4 to 5 rounds with 45-60 seconds of recovery

Week Two 3-5 reps 4 to 5 rounds with 45-60 seconds of recovery

Week Three 3-5 reps 3 to 5 rounds with 45-60 seconds of recovery

Week Four 4-6 reps 3 to 5 rounds with 45-60 seconds of recovery


Alternatives


Elevated Push Up


This is another variation I have enjoyed using in the past for those who aren’t comfortable or are struggling with the yoga block push-ups. Using a squat rack will allow for you to complete the same steps as above, but with something that may be for fitting for you. This variation allows for you to train the push up without having to continuously get up and off the ground. Each week lower the bar height by one pin.

Cues

Hands shoulder width apart

Feet slightly away from you to be at an incline

Lower yourself to the bar while making an arrow with your elbows.

Press your palms into the ground and return to the start.


Action steps for the next few weeks

Week One 8-10 reps 4 to 5 rounds with 45-60 seconds of recovery

Week Two 6-8 reps 4 to 5 rounds with 45-60 seconds of recovery

Week Three 4-6 reps 3 to 5 rounds with 45-60 seconds of recovery

Week Four 3-5 reps 3 to 5 rounds with 45-60 seconds of recovery


Band Assisted Push Up


If you’re struggling with the yoga block push-ups, it’s totally fine to add a band around your waist to assist. Placing the band around the hips allows for you to have assistance throughout the movement and focus more on building upper body strength. As things begin to get easier, you can use lighter bands or try the push-ups without the band.

Cues

Place the band around the waist.

Hands shoulder width apart and underneath your shoulders

Hips aligned with your shoulders in a straight line.

Lower your chest down to the block while making an arrow with your elbows.

Press your palms into the ground and raise yourself back up.


Action steps for the next few weeks

Week One 5-7 reps 4 to 5 rounds with 45-60 seconds of recovery

Week Two 6-8 reps 4 to 5 rounds with 45-60 seconds of recovery

Week Three 8-10 reps 3 to 5 rounds with 45-60 seconds of recovery

Week Four 10-12 reps 3 to 5 rounds with 45-60 seconds of recovery


There are plenty of different ways to accomplish your goals of achieving your first push-up, do what works best for you!

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