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Discouraged about push-ups

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  • Discouraged about push-ups

    So here's the situation--I've never been able to do a full push-up. A couple times I thought I could, but I found out later I was only lowering myself around 1/3 of the way I was supposed to. I'm currently working up to full push-ups, and yesterday I was able to do 27 consecutive incline push-ups.

    Problem is, I still can't do a push-up. What's even worse is apparently I'm doing incline push-ups wrong--I tried some knee push-ups with the best form I could manage, lowering myself to the point where I'm barely not touching the ground, with core engaged, back straight, and all that.

    I can do six knee push-ups in a row. That's it. I start shaking badly and it's really difficult to raise myself back up after only a few. At my last one I usually just fall.

    I thought I was doing well--incline push-ups are supposed to be harder than knee push-ups, not easier!

    My arm muscles are pretty solid, so I think the problem is my chest muscles. What am I supposed to do here, just start doing the measly amounts of knee push-ups I'm capable of until I can do a full push-up?

  • #2
    Stay faithful to your knee push-ups until you reach 15 reps, then you probably can do one or two full push-ups as well...
    "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

    - Schopenhauer

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    • #3
      Hey Alexis47,

      Basically, yes. But you shouldn't push yourself too hard. One of the best push-up programs I've seen is at www.transformetrics.com
      Check out his ultimate push-up book. Not expensive and will turn you into a push machine very quickly.
      Hope this helps,

      Jim
      P.s. I used this program to get me to where I can do 5 sets of 100 daily. But, don't think you will get to where I am quickly. I've been doing push-ups for years ( think decades).

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      • #4
        Be patient. Body-weight exercise gains come slowly. There's good advice above - and don't forget to eat right, and get plenty of rest in between push-up days!

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Alexis47 View Post
          So here's the situation--I've never been able to do a full push-up. A couple times I thought I could, but I found out later I was only lowering myself around 1/3 of the way I was supposed to. I'm currently working up to full push-ups, and yesterday I was able to do 27 consecutive incline push-ups.

          Problem is, I still can't do a push-up. What's even worse is apparently I'm doing incline push-ups wrong--I tried some knee push-ups with the best form I could manage, lowering myself to the point where I'm barely not touching the ground, with core engaged, back straight, and all that.

          I can do six knee push-ups in a row. That's it. I start shaking badly and it's really difficult to raise myself back up after only a few. At my last one I usually just fall.

          I thought I was doing well--incline push-ups are supposed to be harder than knee push-ups, not easier!

          My arm muscles are pretty solid, so I think the problem is my chest muscles. What am I supposed to do here, just start doing the measly amounts of knee push-ups I'm capable of until I can do a full push-up?

          How long have you been trying to do push ups for? A few days? A few months?

          Push ups are deceptively hard, its more core strength than anything else.

          I'd suggest doing some different push ups, like hand release push ups (from your knees) and three phase push ups (from your toes), or using a fitness ball.

          Also exercises like plank, or even just holding a push up "up" position will increase your ability.

          It takes a while, it took me probably 6 weeks before I could do full push ups, so just keep going!
          Starting waist measurement: 36". Current 35". First Goal 33".
          Starting backsquat: 50lbs. Current squat: 132lbs.

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          • #6
            I'm a bit curious to see your form -- modifying hand placement (mainly arm positioning) can make a pretty big difference with push ups. Then of course there's spinal posture as well. If you're interested in getting some advice then feel free to post a vid of yourself attempting a few push ups. There are some very knowledgeable people here who might spot some quick ways to improve.

            Al Kavadlo's website might interest you also. I think he has some push up tutorial/progression videos available for free.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by zoeamy View Post
              How long have you been trying to do push ups for? A few days? A few months?

              Push ups are deceptively hard, its more core strength than anything else.

              I'd suggest doing some different push ups, like hand release push ups (from your knees) and three phase push ups (from your toes), or using a fitness ball.
              This time around I've been trying for three weeks, but this is maybe the third time I've attempted to work up to full push-ups. I gave up the other two times.

              Could you explain how to do three phase push ups? I can't find much online about them.

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              • #8
                Here's one for you that I did when I was up around 200 pounds and trying to get pushups back: negative pushups.

                Take the position a person would take to do a regular pushup. Lower yourself slowly to the floor under control and try to push up until you fail. You won't be able to do many of them at first, but you will start to notice yourself getting stronger at them soon. Don't do them every day. Take a day off between.

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                • #9
                  i agree with you,Not expensive and will turn you into a push machine very quickly.thanks

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                  • #10
                    Try this. Kitchen bench/ table push-ups. Ease yourself down so your sternum is touching the edge of the bench.
                    Put your hands under your shoulders also against the edge of the bench.
                    Keep your elbows tucked in to your side, a 45 degree angle between arm and body is optimal here, don't flare them out perpendicular to your body.

                    Keep your body taught and straight and lift your chest off the bench. This is correct form for push-ups so practise this. Doing 20 - 30 of these with proper form will translate to 5-10 ground push-ups. When your ready apply the same body configuration on a flat surface.
                    Hope that helps.


                    Sent from my iPhone
                    A little primal gem - My Success Story
                    Weight lost in 4 months - 29kg (64 lbs)

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                    • #11
                      Hi Alexis,

                      If you have access to a gym, the most efficient way to build the strength needed for pushups is to bench press. The advantage of working with a barbell is that you can progress in very small increments on a regular basis, which is simply not possible using your own bodyweight. If you can't lift the weight of an empty barbell, you can use lighter dumbells and progress with them until you can use the bar, and then gradually add weight. If your priority is getting stronger at pushups, I'd bench press every second day doing a couple of warmup sets and then 3 sets of 5 or 6 reps using the heaviest weight you can whilst still maintaining good form. If you don't have a spotter and/or safeties on the bench press, you'll have to use a slightly lighter weight, one you know you can lift for 8 reps but then just do your normal 5 or 6 reps, thus leaving a margin of safety. Progress on that for a couple of months and you'll be doing loads of pushups.

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                      • #12
                        JoshH,

                        I disagree totally that benching is a good way to work push-ups. Push-ups require total body tension, benching does not, hence the high number of injuries of people who bench. I can't even begin to count the number of people I've known who tore their rotator cuff benching. Can't say I've every met anyone who injured them self doing push-ups.This view is after years of benching and learning for myself. I would challenge any bencher to match my pull up numbers.
                        I've known (and been), a 300lb plus bencher, but I have only met 1 or 2 ppl who could routinely pump out sets of 100 push-ups.

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                        • #13
                          Thanks for all the suggestions. After reading through these I feel much better and more prepared, I'll try some of these out and see if I can improve substantially in the next month or so. Hopefully I'll be able to get to a point where I can do at least 15 full pushups by the end of the year, which is when my school does those horribly embarrassing public fitness tests everyone cheats at.

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                          • #14
                            Mini-mi,

                            It might be time to work on your reading comprehension skills mate. The OP asked how she could get her first pushup, as she is currently unable to do any at all. She didn't ask how she could get to sets of 100 pushups, and I didn't suggest she work her bench press to 300lbs and in the process acquire a rotator cuff injury. Try engaging your brain next time you respond to a post.

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                            • #15
                              Hey, keep at it. It took a couple months of crossfit before I was able to do a real pushup (with proper form--arms close to the body instead of flared out) on the floor. Now I can do two, maybe three. Haha!

                              It is my personal opinion that incline pushups are better than knee pushups. I think incline pushups are more similar to real pushups than knee pushups are. Not sure if this is true, just my opinion.

                              My journal

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