How To Do A Modified Push-Up

Chris Freytag demonstrating how to do a push-up on your knees for beginners.

Let’s be honest: push-ups are hard! Especially if you’re just getting into a fitness routine, sometimes you don’t have the strength needed to perform a full push-up and that’s okay! Modifying an exercise is a great way to build up your strength towards a particular move so you can one day perform the real thing. That’s why we’re to show you how to do a modified push-up to help you build enough strength to do a full push-up someday.

Use the links below to quickly navigate this guide:

After you’ve worked through Modified Push Ups, give regular Push Ups a try and see how much stronger you’ve gotten! There are always new variations to make Push Ups more challenging, so don’t worry about it getting too easy!

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How To Do Modified Push-Ups

  1. Begin in a kneeling position on a mat with hands below shoulders and knees behind hips so back is angled and long.
  2. Tuck toes under, tighten abdominals, and bend elbows to lower chest toward the floor. Keep your gaze in front of your fingertips so neck stays long.
  3. Press chest back up to start position.
  4. Repeat for desired number of repetitions.

While performing this exercise, make sure to keep your spine long and straight, and don’t stare down at the ground! Keep your gaze about 6 inches in front of your fingertips, which will also help you maintain a straight spine. When you lower down, make sure those elbows get all the way to 90 degrees so you can achieve maximum results from this exercise.

Benefits of Modified Push-Ups

There are many benefits to the Modified Push-Ups and just as many reasons you should incorporate them into your workouts. Push-ups are one of the best exercises anyone can do, but women especially! All in one exercise, you get the benefit of toning your arms, chest, shoulders, and core. Push ups tone up basically your entire upper body all the while helping you to torch calories and reveal toned and tight arms, shoulders, and abs. Here are just a few benefits of modified push-ups:

Sculpted Arms

Beautiful, strong and sculpted arms can be as simple as practicing modified push-ups or push-ups several times a week. Theoretically you could sculpt your arms without ever picking up weights if you do modified push-ups. Of course, training in a variety of ways is a better choice to modified push-upscan be one of many exercises you do for your biceps, triceps and shoulders.

They Train You For Full Push-Ups

Modified push-ups are a gateway to doing a full push-up. Many people, especially women, really struggle with learning how to do a proper push-up. To train your muscles for full push-ups, do modified push-ups several times a week. Modified push-ups and Full Push-Ups use the identical muscles. The only difference is that you have your knees on the ground to take some of the weight off your upper body. Once you can do several modified push-ups, start to incorporate one or two full push-ups into each set. Gradually you can increase that number.

Strong Chest And Upper Back

Chest and back exercises are not easy to come by. Modified push-ups tackle both of these when done properly. Make sure you don’t shrug your shoulders or stick your elbows out to the side of your body. Pull your elbows back at an angle and squeeze your lats (“latissimus dorsi”). These are the back muscles you will want to focus on using for a proper push-up.

Works Your Core

You might not think an arm exercise like a push up would work your core, but do your best to keep your core tight as you perform the repetitions and you’ll notice just how much your core really is activated. Push ups are great because while your biceps, triceps, shoulders, and chest are all getting a boost, you are also toning and tightening your core!

What Muscles Do Modified Push-Ups Work?

Modified push-ups are one of the most all-encompassing upper body exercises ever! Modified push-ups work all your upper body muscles including chest, back, shoulders, biceps and triceps. They even help strengthen your core.

How Many Calories Do Modified Push-Ups Burn?

People often ask how many calories they are burning in their workouts. Modified push-ups will generally burn about 100 calories for every 10 minutes you are working. Focus less on burning calories, and more on building the muscles in your upper body which will help you burn more calories overall. 

Incorporating Modified Push-Ups Into Your Workouts

Modified push-ups are an amazing upper body exercise! You could work on them and get strong. However, you could also incorporate Modified push-ups with other exercises and have some great workouts. Here are some ideas to make that happen:

Upper Body Workout Plan

Working your upper body muscles can be an intense training session. Use this series for your upper body and you’ll feel it the next day. Get a set of dumbbells and do each exercise for the number of repetitions listed with just a few seconds in between to rest.

Use Modified Push-Ups In a Full-Body Strength Challenge

Incorporate this move with other moves for a full-body strength session. Try each of the moves below for the given number of reps.

Use Modified Push-Ups In Your Circuit Training

Circuits are a fun way to exercise and get your strength and cardio in all at the same time. The idea behind circuits are to go from one move, or one “station,” to the next with little or not rest in between. Check this out:

Full Body Circuit Training Workout

Move directly from one exercise to the next with little to no break in between. Rest for 1 minute at the end, then repeat the sequence.

Rest 1 minute. Repeat. Stretch.

Other Exercises Similar to Modified Push-Ups

If you like the idea of getting a great cardio move right in the comfort of your own home, try these too!

Targets: shoulders, arm, core

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