4 Push-Up Modifications You Can Try Today

By , Jessica Smith, Certified Personal Trainer
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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CECELW 11/2/2020
I do modified push ups Report
GETULLY 10/18/2020
I do push ups on the washer when it is on the spin cycle. Report
CKOUDSI617 6/23/2020
I loved when Peanut was kissing her while she was demonstrating the incline push-up. So CUTE! :) Jessica is GREAT! Report
MUSICNUT 5/9/2020
Thanks for the great article! :) Report
CKEYES1 3/30/2020
Needed this Report
CECELW 2/20/2020
It is too painful for me to do push ups nowadays. Report
KIMJ01 11/28/2019
Very helpful article about progressing through the various push ups. And I love your Frenchie helper! Report
Jessica is great Report
Just started doing push-ups. I do the wall version and am up to 15 daily. Baby steps. Report
This was great for when I need a break due to knee injuries or just want to change it up Report
Great excercises! Report
Working the wall push ups now. Report
I like the part of the push up video when peanut pup growls for Jessica's attention. Made me lol, which encourages me to try the fun push ups. Look out warm weather, triceps coming thru, baby. Report
A great way to start this exercise Report
Great exercises Report
I can do the wall pushups because I don’t need to get on the floor. Report
I have never been able to do a push up even when young and not overweight. Maybe I can try these and work on being able to do a real push up. Report
Thanks for sharing. Report
Love your Peanut and his helping you with your workout. So loving & sweet! French Bulldogs are wonderful. Good article and nice variations on pushups. Hadn't heard of some of these before. thanks! Report
I enjoy doing push ups but I hate getting on the floor these days...ugh Report
thanks Report
conditioning in progress--ending with plank challenges Report
Thank you! Great tips! Report
Good reminder Report
thanks... Report
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? Report
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. Report
Another vote for wonderful with hip issues! Report
Bit of a mixed message to follow the article with a link suggesting that we try the sausage alfredo recipe... Report
I really enjoyed this video. Thank you, Jessica! Thank you, Peanut! Report
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 :') Report
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! Report
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 Report
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. Report
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. Report