Find Push Ups Hard? Read This.

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A pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, unicorns, centaurs, a good guy with no problems, and full range of motion push ups.

These are just some of the things which will elude most girls for their entire life.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

I’m not going to attempt to deliver mythical creatures like a good guy (…and unicorns and centaurs – WAHEY!!) but what I will do is tell you how you can make the last one thing on the list a reality – full range of motion push ups.

And this article definitely isn’t just for girls. There A LOT of guys who can’t do a full range of motion push up either.

Push ups

There’s 3 main factors at play which need to be improved to complete a full range of motion push up (henceforth I’ll just be calling it a “push up” with no qualifier).

1) Push up “skill” work
2) More core strength
3) Enhanced shoulder stability

The latter 2 are somewhat outside of the scope of this article, but I’ll place links at the end on how you can improve them too.

>> Want a free 6 week strength training program? Click here now to get it <<

The “Skill” of Push Ups
One of the biggest misconceptions out there is that there’s no “skill” required to be strong, but really that’s not the case. You might not consider learning how to drive, or tie your shoe laces skillful either, but the repeated act of doing those things has lead to you acquiring the ability to do them.

Know what that’s called? Skills acquisition. And that’s what we’re going to do with push ups. I’m going to present a simple follow along at home progression you can start using today to get you to full range of motion push ups in the next 6-12 weeks (and if you think that sounds like a long time, here’s my question to you – how long have you been trying to get there for already, and has it worked?)

Here’s some quick rules;
> mechanics and perfection of performance first (no shit reps)
> if it hurts, don’t do it
> eat “real food” (meat / veg / nuts / seeds / limited fruit and starchy carbs / no sugar)
> sleep 8 hours per night

So… onwards.

Step 1: Knee Push Ups With Support
There’s 2 main ways to modify an exercise – decrease the load, or shorten the range of motion (ROM). And because your bodyweight is mainly fixed, we’re gonna change ROM.

Your goal is to complete 5 sets of 20 reps on each height before moving down a level. That will probably take 2-3 weeks depending on where you’re starting.

Start with 3 cushions, move to 2 cushions, then to 1, before moving onto step 2. See the video explanation below for more.

Step 2: Knee Push Ups
The first thing to do on this progression is to make sure you’ve the previous step locked down. Please don’t be the person who tries to race ahead and beat the system, because I promise you, you’ll fail.

You build the tallest pyramid with the widest base, so spend a few weeks revisiting the beginning of the serious and make sure you’ve your 5×20 locked down on each level.

Then it’s time to start smashing out push ups off your knees. But before you do, it’s super important to remember that at all times you need to keep your knees, hips and shoulders in a straight line. Please don’t be the guy or girl going face down / ass up. This isn’t a rap video. Do your push ups with good form.

Start with 5 sets of 10 reps and try to add a couple of reps every time you repeat the series.

Step 3: Feet Push Ups With Support
As I said in step 1 – there’s 2 main ways to modify an exercise – change the load, or shorten the range of motion (ROM). And we’re going to change the load this time by increasing your lever length and taking ya off your knees, and going to your feet.

Your goal is to complete 5 sets of 12-15 reps on each height before moving down a level. That will probably take 2-3 weeks depending on where you’re starting.

Start with 3 cushions, move to 2 cushions, then to 1, before moving onto step 2. See the video explanation below for more.

Step 4: Push Up Down, Knees Up
You’ll always be stronger eccentrically (lowering weight) than you will be concentrically (lifting weight) so we’ll take advantage of that now.

Do a full range of motion push up, lowering yourself until your chest is on the floor, pop the knees down and complete the “up” portion off your knees.

Put the feet back down, and repeat. See video explanation for more.

Step 5: PUSH UPS!!!!
Now, to be TOTALLY honest with you… if you get to 20 reps on step 3 and 4, you’ve probably been at full ROM push ups for a while, but like I said earlier – no need to rush things eh?

After 6 to 12 weeks of following the above you should be able to KILL push ups, and it’s time to move on and pick your next challenge.

Pulling It All Together
So let’s link this all together so you have a neat reference guide to follow…

>> Want a free 6 week strength training program? Click here now to get it <<

> Day 1: 60s Push Up Test – how many push ups you can do off your knees to 1/2/3 mats (make sure every rep gets down and is perfect), don’t cheat on any reps now because it means you’ll have to cheat a whole lot more to beat it later. Do it once, do it right.

> Knee Push Ups off 3/2/1 mats – get to 5×20 on a level, then move down

> Knee Push Ups, no mats – get to 5×15-20, then move on

> Feet Push Ups off 3/2 mats – get to 5×12-15 on a level, then move down

> Push Up Down, Knee up – get to 5×12-15, then it’s time for the buggy…

> Do some full range of motion push ups!!!!!

…if at any point you start to lose faith, or feel like you’re not progressing, retest your 60s push ups off your knees. I guarantee you’ll see an improvement there after the first 3-4 weeks. That should be proof enough that your training is working.

Give it a go, and let me know how you get on!!

And remember, having a strong core is a CRUCIAL part of good push ups, so if you can’t hold a perfect plank for at least 1 minute, you need to start here: http://revolutionfitness.ie/youre-such-a-planker/

* If you need some help with your push ups, or anything else to do with you training fill in the contact form below and we can have a chat about your goals and how to get you there *

Fill out my online form.

James Hanley

Strength Coach. Performance Specialist. Dog Lover. Powerlifter. And the guy behind the scenes in RevFit that keeps the plates spinning.