Why build up to a full push up?
Push Ups have got to be the best all-rounder bodyweight exercise. The full push up hits the chest, shoulders, triceps, back, core and legs. You could say the incentive for working up to a full push up is the time you could save by doing this compound exercise alone instead of doing many more exercises for individual muscle groups. It’s perfect when you are short of equipment.
Push Up Progressions
Box Push Ups
Out of all of the progressions, I would say these are the easiest to work on base level upper body strength. Only a small proportion of total body weight is being shifted. It’s tempting to do a partial rep on these, make sure you don’t neglect the full range of motion.
3/4 Push Ups
Still on all fours, but using more body weight than box push ups. There is also more reliance on core strength, keeping your torso in line with your thighs.
Incline Push Ups
Shifting most of your bodyweight, but with gravity taking it easy. If you are struggling to keep yourself from dipping, might need to take it back one step.
Negative Push Ups
The downward phase (eccentric movement) of the push up does all the work here. Negative push ups are great to get a taster of the full push up and can accelerate progress. Make sure you keep all of these progressions slow on the way down.
If you can do full push ups, add a few reps of these once you can’t do any more. This will increase your total.
Push ups can be improved by doing planks. These help to maintain the position without dropping the back.
Any form of chest press, chest flies and dips will help strengthen the main muscles required in the push up.
It can be tempting to get exercise over and done with, however the slower the better on the way down on all variations.
For proper from keep your elbows tucked in to avoid brachioradial injury.
Maybe this was the push ‘up’ you needed to get started, let me know below!