How to Do Push Ups (If You Can Do About 0 Push Ups)

how to do push ups for beginners - regular push up.

There’s no shame in not being able to do push ups – it’s only a shame to give up if you don’t succeed at first. We don’t all start out being great, but AS beginners who need to work to get there.

So, how can you get better at doing push ups if you can’t do push ups?

Modifications are the answer.

I’m going to show you 3 easier variations of a push up that can help beginners build the strength to do regular ones with time.


Keep your hands shoulder width or slightly wider apart. Your wrists should be below your upper chest. Turn your arms so that the inside of your elbows are pointing slightly forward. Keep your core and glutes engaged at all time – if your hips start sagging or you can’t keep your spine neutral, stop and rest. When lifting from the floor imagine that you’re pushing the floor away from you and slowly lower back down until your face almost touch the floor and repeat.


Aim towards completing 3 sets of 12-16 reps every time.

Figure out which of the following variations that you can complete 12-16 reps of with good form. Then start adding 1-2 reps of the variation that’s a bit harder at the beginning of each set, until you’re able to complete a full set with the harder variation only.

Continue this way until you’ve mastered the push up.

Push up modifications for Beginners


how to do push ups for beginners - wall push up.


how to do push ups for beginners - chair push up.

The higher the incline the easier the push up modification will be. So if you find the wall push ups to easy but push ups from a chair too hard, use a table or another slightly higher surface.


how to do push ups for beginners - knee push up.

You can also do incline push ups on your knees.


how to do push ups for beginners - regular push up.

Bonus tip: Negative push ups

If you find knee-push ups easier, but regulars too difficult do this variation. Lower yourself down in regular push up position, then pause at bottom and put your knees down. Push up with knees on ground.

Now you’re ready to work on those arms, chest and shoulders. You’ll be able to do push ups in no time if you remember to practice regularly.

Did you find this helpful? Or are you ready for a challenge with some even harder push up variations? Let me know in the comments below!

Gif that says lots of love, Anne xx

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How to Do Push Ups (If You Can Do About 0 Push Ups)How to Do Push Ups (If You Can Do About 0 Push Ups)
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  1. says: EA

    Great article. Want to mention that elbow position is not correct! Google 6 mistakes doing push-ups, you’ll see. I had the same mistake.

    1. says: annesmiles

      It’s not incorrect, there’s different elbow positions for different versions of push ups. Neither close to the body or far away is wrong, they’re just different and challenge the body in different ways.

  2. says: Leslie

    THANK YOU!! I went to the gym today, and did a lot of things, including laughing at myself for not even being able to do anything that even resembled a push up haha! I’ll definitely follow your tips here. Thank you so much!

  3. I’m trying hard to improve my upper body strength, and pushups are tough. I’m doing them on my knees at the moment. I will practice the wall ones too, thanks.

  4. These variations are definitely a good start. I started a routine that asked for 15 push ups, but I could only manage 5 at a time on my knees… After a few weeks I was doing 10 full push ups, so yep, practising through variations definitely helps!

  5. says: Nadia

    I love these tips since I am the one who is terrible at push-ups. Really appreciate this guide to perfect the skill 🙂 My hands have always been strong but my arms have always been weak (due to signs of arthritis – weird to get it at such young age). Is it safe to do these or is it maybe even recommended if I do get a flare up here and there once or twice a year?
    Thanks for this post, lovely.
    xox Nadia

    1. says: Anne

      I’m so glad you found it helpful! I’m not exactly an expert on this, put push ups can put a lot of pressure on your wrists (is that where you get your flare ups?) – so if it hurts while/after you do them, it’s probably not a good idea. But I think I read somewhere that it can help to them with handles xxx

  6. says: Sylvia

    I am terrible at push ups and usually do them on my knees. I am going to try the other variations to see if they can help me with finally getting regular push ups.

  7. says: Aleeha

    Ooh thanks, this is really helpful! I want to able to push ups so badly… and look a little less weak!
    Aleeha xXx

  8. says: jennifer

    What an encouragement! I know lots of people who skip over exercise because too hard for them but there is no shame in modifications! The videos helpful!

  9. says: Patti

    This is so helpful. I always struggled with push ups, even with the knee version. So I will try and follow your steps and hopefully one day I will be able to do at least one push up! 😀

  10. says: Sarah

    This is great for people of all fitness levels! My youngest can do push ups like a pro my oldest tries but is a soccer player and runner and doesn’t have much upper body strength so I think I will use some of these tips to help her when she wants to build her upper body strength!