4 Push-Up Modifications You Can Try Today


By: , – Jessica Smith, Certified Personal Trainer
  :  12 comments   :  44,217 Views

Struggling to master a full push-up? You aren't alone. Push-ups are a great exercise that engages almost every muscle in your body, but they aren't exactly easy to do! The good news is there are several modifications you can use while you are building up into a full one. In this video I'll show you 4 easy ways to modify a push-up (shown from easiest to most challenging) to help you progress and build the strength and stamina you need to finally master a full push-up on your toes. 
Here are the specific modifications we cover in the video, along with my reps/set recommendations for each to help you build proper form and functional strength:

Modification #1: Wall Push-Up
Try working up to 3 full sets of 15 repetitions before progressing to modification #2.

Modification #2: Incline Push-Up
Try working up to 3 full sets of 10-12 repetitions before progressing to modification #3.

Modification #3: Quadruped Push-Up
Try working up to 3 full sets of 10-12 repetitions before progressing to modification #4.

Modification #4: Bent Knee Push-Up
Once you have mastered 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions of the bent knee push-up, feel free to try adding in a few reps of full push-ups (on your toes). You can try to do as many full push-ups as you can with great form and then drop down to your knees to complete the set.

Oh, and keep an eye out for my workout partner Peanut in this video—she wanted to help me with my push-up form! Do you work out with your pets at home too?

Did you try the modifications? Let me know in the comments below which one you are working on right now and just remember no matter where you are starting out, practice makes progress!

Need an effective workout program without a single push up (or even any floor work)? Get our “WALK ON: 21 DAY WEIGHT LOSS PLAN” DVD Set! It features 4, 30-minute walking-based routines that include low-impact HIIT cardio, strength training, standing abs and even chair stretches to help you burn fat while building your energy!

About the Author
Jessica Smith is co-author of the Thin in 10 Weight Loss Plan (Sunrise River Press, 2012), and a certified wellcoach, personal trainer and group fitness instructor. Having started her own fitness journey more than 40 pounds ago, Jessica knows how challenging it can be to lose weight (and keep it off). Recently named one of Sharecare's Top 10 Online Influencers, she loves finding and sharing the latest info on weight loss, fitness, and healthy lifestyle habits. The star of several best-selling exercise DVDs, Jessica has over 13 years of experience in the industry, and holds a bachelor's degree in Communications from Fordham University.

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  • 12
    Good reminder - 11/15/2017   11:22:27 AM
  • 11
    thanks... - 10/3/2017   11:10:10 PM
  • 10
    Thanks Jessica, I had to watch the video as didn't know what 3 was but do it already. I have difficulty with tricep push ups more than normal ones so should I return to stage 1 to perfect these or keep trying at stage 3/4? - 6/13/2017   3:08:28 PM
  • 9
    Great info. Was aware of the wall push ups and modified ones done on the knees but not the middle two. Started with wall push ups a couple of months ago (don't do them frequently) and had recently gone to version 4 with a very small range of motion so will maybe back up and try versions 2 and 3 to build up the upper body strength which has always been a weak area for me. - 3/7/2016   12:07:50 PM
  • 8
    Another vote for wonderful with hip issues! - 9/20/2015   11:17:24 PM
    Bit of a mixed message to follow the article with a link suggesting that we try the sausage alfredo recipe... - 9/12/2015   8:21:49 AM
  • 6
    I really enjoyed this video. Thank you, Jessica! Thank you, Peanut! - 9/11/2015   6:20:25 PM
  • 5
    These are great! I injured my hip while hiking, so this is a great way to get in my push-ups without adding more stress to the injury :') - 9/4/2015   8:51:07 PM
    Jessica! I love you even more than ever! I have been following you for a decade. I'm a doc in FL and have been referring many people to your DVDs for years! Your mom and dad used to be my patients when i had an office! You look GREAT! Your videos are GREAT! You have an awesome presence! Your parents are awesome too! And now with your little munchkin in this video... you just won my heart a million times over. I'm so proud of you and you're not even my kid! - 9/4/2015   1:00:41 PM
    Your tips on how long it takes to loose weight and focus on the journey was wise and well thought out. Thank you. It was encouraging. Emily - 9/3/2015   11:16:12 AM
    Problem with pushups has always been my wrists, until I found a pair of pushup bars. Might be a suggestion for others who have trouble pushing up. - 9/3/2015   11:08:50 AM
  • 1
    Another method I've used, due to issues with my wrists, is using the matt of my rebounder instead of the floor for placing my hands. Because the matt gives a bit, it is less stressful to my wrists, while still building lean body mass. - 9/3/2015   1:19:17 AM

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