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How to Get Your First 10 Push-ups

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The push-up is a classic staple of bodyweight training and a great total body exercise for developing strength. But when most new trainees think of push-ups, it just brings back bad memories of trying to perform them in gym class in high school.

The push-up, out of all the exercises I have beginner clients perform, is the one that creates the most dread. People often tell me, “I can’t do those. Never have been able to, and don’t know if I ever will be able to.” Funny enough, just about all of these people end up being able to perform push-ups — and I’m talking “real” push-ups on their toes — and even go on to perform more advanced versions within a few weeks or months.

The Key to Your First 10 Push-ups

The key to push-ups (and any other bodyweight/minimalist exercise) is correct progression and technique. You can still perform “push-ups” even if you’re not doing them from your toes. It’s all about finding the right variation that’s the perfect amount of difficulty for your strength and fitness level. That’s how you move up to the next level of strength and fitness:

  1. Find the right variation of the push-up.
  2. Master the technique.
  3. Move on to a harder progression.

Repeat, repeat, and repeat until you’re performing push-ups from your toes.

Download the "Beginner's Exercise Plan That Works" E-Book

Watch the Video to Start Working on Your Push-ups

Today, I’ll be showing you how to progress from beginner push-ups to full push-ups on your toes by using tested methods that have worked with almost every single client of mine. On top of that, you’ll learn how to perform your push-ups with correct technique and how to avoid common mistakes. This way you’ll reduce the chance of hurting yourself while you increase your strength.

If you’re ready to improve your pushing strength, and get on your way to performing your first ten push-ups, check out the video below:

Push-up FAQ

How many push-ups should I be able to do of a certain progression before moving onto the next progression?

Once you can perform 3 sets of 8-10 reps with 30 seconds of rest between sets, you’ll be strong enough to move onto the next progression. For example, that means you’ll need to be able to perform at least 3 sets of 8 push-ups from your knees before you can move onto toes-to-knees push-ups.

My wrists hurt during push-ups. What should I do?

Try aligning your wrists into more comfortable angles by using push-up handles, holding onto dumbbells, or performing your push-ups on your fists.

How should I breathe when I’m doing push-ups?

Breathe in while lowering your body and out while pushing up. Keep your abs braced throughout.

Now that you’re educated on the nuances of push-up form and its progressions, you’re ready to become a push-up master. Take your time, don’t rush through progressions, and listen to your body. In a few weeks, you’ll be stronger than you ever thought you could be!

Photo by, via Wikimedia Commons.

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Timothy Bell
Timothy Bell is a fitness coach and writer from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Timothy has trained countless people using his unique minimalist approach to bodyweight training. Tim’s relaxed, no-nonsense, adaptable style of fitness allows his clients the ability to train anytime, anywhere, with little to no equipment needed. He prides himself on being able to deliver world-class training regardless of the location. Timothy firmly believes your training should be a part of your life, and not be your whole life.

Timothy’s goal is to help everyone he works with find a unique fitness and nutrition program that fits their lifestyle. He’s known for giving out tons of free advice, videos, and articles on his blog Timothy Bell Fitness.