5 push-up exercises ideal for beginners / warm-up

Basic push-ups alternatives

In this article, we want to see 5 type of push-up exercises for beginners.

Important premises:

The exercises

Exercise 1 (push-ups from standing against the wall):

  • Good for arms / ankles warm-up, pushing hands preparation (and eventually for fingers strengthening)
  • This exercise is useful to get used our arms to bend
  • We start from a standing position in front of a wall
  • The distance from the wall must be at least 1m (the greater the distance, the greater the effort)
  • Our feet must be parallel and attached
  • We have to symmetrically lean the palms of our hands on the wall
  • The arms must be slightly flexed and perpendicular to our body
  • The hands and feet, respectively, never come off the surface of the wall and the floor
  • Let’s bend our elbows and with a rigid body we flex the ankles to approach the wall
  • When we arrive near the wall we have to imagine to push away the wall with our hands to return in the initial position
  • Let’s repeat the movement regulating the speed in relation to the result we want to obtain (slow for resistance, fast for explosive power, middle for warm-up, etc.)
  • Intermediate practitioners can gradually increase the distance from the wall

Exercise 2 (kneeling push-ups):

  • Ideal for wrists / elbows / shoulders warm-up (and eventually for fingers strengthening)
  • We start on the ground with our stomach pointing down
  • Let’s symmetrically lean on the ground with the palm of our hands and knees
  • Our feet should be raised, our legs attached together and our elbows slightly bent
  • We simply have to flex our elbows until we are near to the ground
  • In coordination, our feet have to raise
  • Then we have to return to the starting position and repeat the movement
  • Intermediate practitioners can insert a sequence of punches between each push-up

Exercise 3 (push-ups with the upper body):

  • Ideal for arms warm-up, abdominals and recovery after injuries (in this case let’s remember to contact a specialized physiotherapist)
  • We start on a mattress of a bed with our stomach pointing down (a too rigid surface would limit too much the workout)
  • Our arms, our shoulders and must be outside of the surface of the mattress
  • The greater the percentage of the body outside the mattress, the greater the effort
  • Let’s symmetrically lean on the ground with the palm of our hands
  • Our elbows are slightly bent and our legs are open
  • We must be at a height that allows us a certain range of movement (up and down)
  • We simply have to flex our elbows until we are near to the ground
  • Then we have to return to the starting position and repeat the movement
  • Intermediate practitioners can lean even only with the feet on the mattress (this make the practice harder than the normal push-ups)
  • The exercise can be performed also on the ground (with the legs fully leaning and lifting only the upper part of the body)
  • On the ground, the exercise can be executed also without the arms (using the abdominals muscles only)

Exercise 4 (a “wrong” version of the normal push-up):

  • Ideal as an education to the real push-ups
  • We start on the ground with our stomach pointing down
  • Let’s symmetrically lean on the ground with the palm of our hands and our toes
  • Our legs are attached together and our elbows slightly bent
  • We simply have to flex our elbows until we are near to the ground
  • Bending our arms we have to maintain our buttocks up, they have not to go down with us (this drastically reduce the effort)
  • Then we have to return to the starting position and repeat the movement

Exercise 5 (the normal push-up):

  • Ideal for stamina and power development
  • We start on the ground with our stomach pointing down
  • Let’s symmetrically lean on the ground with the palm of our hands and our toes
  • Our legs are attached together and our elbows slightly bent
  • We simply have to flex our elbows until we are near to the ground
  • Bending our arms we have not to maintain our buttocks up, they have to go down with us
  • Then we have to return to the starting position and repeat the movement

For a total beginner, these exercises can be performed even only for 1-2 minute but without pauses or slowdowns. We can do specific sessions of each of them or we can divide the amount of time dedicated for executing altogether (eg. 5 of each).

Variations

These are safe and extremely simple push-ups exercises ideal for beginners (or as a warm-up) but, with the right adaptations, they can be performed also by advanced practitioners.

Let’s see some interesting variations (not for novices):

  • Use a weighted vest (15-25 Kg) or an opposing force (eg. a partner that pushes us down) to make the exercise harder
  • Insert a hand clap between each repetition, on one arm, etc. (more about this later)
  • Lean on the ground with fingers, knuckles, the back of the hand (etc.) instead of the palm
  • Advanced practitioners can also receive punches on the back or kicks on the ribs (regulating power with the conditioning level, read Conditioning check for the impact)

In the next article of this series, we will see more advanced push-ups exercises.

In-depth articles

Questions

Reply in the comments and share your experience:

  • How many push-ups can you perform without interruption?

Author: Master Kongling

Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.

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