How To Do Push-Up's If You Cant? [Ultimate Guide]

Updated: Sep 5

Do you struggle doing push ups? Are you trying out push ups for the first time?


This guide will help you succeed at your first push-up. It will also answer any questions you may have about push-ups.


You're probably reading this because you cant do a full push up, or you're struggling to do many.


So how do you do push ups if you can't do a full one yet?


Here's the simple answer: The best way to do push ups if you cant is with incline push-ups, raise your hands up higher in comparison to your feet, creating an "incline". This will reduce the weight over your arms, making them easier.

The Incline Push Up (Source: Runtastic)

Here's some great steps to help you achieve your first 100 push ups:


  • Find an incline – your best bet could be stairs, or a sofa/couch or even just the wall.

  • Start by doing as many reps as you can with good form, then rest for 2 minutes. Once rested, repeat for another 2 sets. Start doing this workout two to three times per week.

  • Work on this incline height until you can do 3 x 10 (three sets of ten reps) with good form, this means keeping a tight core, not sticking out your butt and not flaring your elbows out.

  • Keep progressing to a lower incline height (for example the next step down the stairs) and repeat the same process again on this incline level.

  • Once you've mastered the height you're at, keep going down an incline until you reach the floor. This may take 3 weeks, or 3 months, or longer. Don't be put off, keep it up!


Once you've mastered the flat push up you can even move onto the decline push up, however this is for advanced trainees.


Scroll down for our step-by-step guide to do your first push up.

Frequently Asked Questions:


Q: Is It Okay To Do Push Ups Everyday?

A: It is generally okay to do push ups every day, just be sure to have a break if you feel any effects of overworking or fatigue. Changing it up every so often may be beneficial too.


Q: Why Can't I Go All The Way Down In Push Ups?

A: This can be due to a multitude of reasons, however the most likely reason why you cant go all the way down in a push up is that your body hasn't adapted to this movement yet, therefore the more you practice push ups the better you will get at them.


Q: I Can't Do Push Ups But I'm Strong?

A: The most likely reason why you cant do a push up even if you're strong on other exercises is due to your overall body-weight, also because your body hasn't been able to adapt to the push up. Losing body-fat and practising the push up will help.


Q: How To Make Push Ups Easier?

A: The best way to make a push up easier is to use an elevated surface for your hands instead of the floor, for example doing push ups off of a sofa/couch. Over time you can work your way back down to floor level, or even start raising your feet off the ground to make them harder.


Q: Can You Get Ripped Doing Push Ups?

A: For beginners, doing push ups will be able to make a significant difference in strength and size. However for more advanced trainees and pro-level athletes, just doing push ups will not get you ripped, you will need a much more advanced set of workouts.

How To Do Push Ups Step-By-Step For A Beginner:


  1. Our first step is to think about a push up as a moving plank, holding a solid core, keeping your body head-to-toe locked in a straight line.

  2. The correct way to do a push up is to position your hands around shoulder-width apart, or slightly wider.

  3. Your fingers should be splayed, with your middle fingers pointing straight ahead, towards the 12 o'clock mark.

  4. As you slowly bend your elbows (around 3-5 seconds) and lower your body toward the ground, your elbows should be at around a 45-degree angle to your body.

  5. Once you've levelled out, begin to raise your body up again, keeping a tight core and maintaining a straight body like it's locked to a straight line, the only part that should be moving is your arms and elbows.

What Muscles Does A Push Up Work?

A push up uses your own body weight as the resistance, working your upper body and your core at the same time.


In the standard push up, these muscle groups are targeted:


  • Pectoralis major and pectoralis minor

  • Deltoid major and deltoid minor

  • Latissimus dorsi, rhomboids and trapeze muscles

  • Biceps

  • Triceps

  • Serratus anterior


The push up is very similar to the plank therefore uses these muscles also; lower back muscles, abdominal/core muscles, gluteus maximus and medius, which are the buttocks muscles, leg muscles, such as the hamstrings, quadriceps, calf and also shin muscles.


Source: Medicalnewstoday

Further Reading:

-> Real Muscle Exercise Guides

-> 6 Best Tips To Growing Your Chest [Hardgainer Guide]

Image Credits: Runtastic

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