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Master the Push Up: Beginner to Advanced Progression

Updated: Nov 14, 2023

I hear this all the time, “My goal is do successfully do 10 push ups.” For you, maybe it’s 1, maybe it’s 30, or maybe it’s 10 with a resistance band! Wherever you may be, in this article & video, I'll walk you through how to practice proper push up form as well as a full push up progression you can work on from beginner to advanced.


Push up progression beginner to advanced

No matter where you are with your push up, you can jump into the next progression that is most suitable for your level! If you don't have any of the specific equipment for a progression, there will be alternatives to these listed out in this article for you. Feel free to comment below with which progression you'll try next!


Let's get started!


1. Wall Push Up

Your starting point is your wall pushup. This is where you're gonna be mastering your form and building your strength endurance.


2. TRX Pushup

Make sure that you're slightly turning the handle so that your arms stay at that nice 45 degree angle. Progress from here by taking a couple steps underneath the TRX, so you're at more of an angle. If you don't have access to a TRX, you can skip and go to #3- the hip height incline push up.


*Check out my getting started with TRX article here to consider purchasing one for yourself. These are great for full body workouts, core & balance strength training & for on the go or vacation workouts!


3. Incline Push Up - Hip Height

Next would be a hip height incline. If you don't have a barbell, you can use the back of a couch or an outdoor railing. Be sure to start with a high incline as shown in the photo above, then we will progress our way down!


4. Incline Push Up - Knee Height

Next, you're going to drop your incline at or below knee height using a bench or a stabilized ottoman or chair.


5. Knee Floor Push Up

After that, it's time for the floor! Spread out your fingers wide & make sure your thumbs are in line with the shoulders. Bring those knees back behind the hip line and keep those toes on the ground for more core engagement. Be able to confidently perform 15 to 20 good form reps from your knees before progressing to your toes.


6. Full Floor Push Up (from toes)

Maintain your form when progressing to your toes. When first starting out you can spit the reps and perform as many good form full push ups you can, then supplement with knee push ups to finish your set.

For example: Your workout calls for 15 push ups for 3 sets. Here's how you can perform these by splitting up the sets, maintaining good form and training your strength endurance.


Set 1: You perform 10 good form push ups (or as many as possible), then drop to your knees & perform the remaining 5 push ups from this position.


*rest 60 -90 seconds or perform superset*


Set 2: You perform 8 good form push ups (or as many as possible), then drop to your knees & perform the remaining 7 push ups from this position.


*rest 60 -90 seconds or perform superset*


Set 3: You perform 5 good form push ups (or as many as possible), then drop to your knees & perform the remaining 10 push ups from this position.


You get the idea!


7. Banded Push Up

And now we're gonna add our first progression from the full push up from your toes. Grab a light, full loop resistance band. Place the hands in between the loops on both sides, and perform your push up as normal. It's going to be a little bit tougher as you're pushing up against that resistance now vs. bodyweight & gravity alone.


8. Single Arm Slider Push Up

Now we're going into the single arm pushup with none other than your sliders. This is a great way to strengthen your pec muscles, even if you haven't mastered your full pushup yet.


9. Single Arm Medicine Ball Push Up

Then you're going to bring in your medicine ball and you are fully set for your single arm push up. I like to just toss the ball in between underneath me from side to side to alternate sides. You can also perform all on one side & then all on the other. I would not recommend doing these from your knees, only from full toes.


10. BOSU Single Arm Push Up

And the Holy Grail, the BOSU single arm push up. This has to be one of the most challenging push ups as your body is working to not only perform the exercise, but also stabilize on the stability ball side of the BOSU.


*Check out my getting started with BOSU training article here to consider purchasing one for yourself. The BOSU is one of my favorite equipment pieces for core & balance training, foot & ankle strength and it is so versatile to be used in all types of workouts!


And there you have it- your full 10 step push up progression from beginner to advanced! Promise me you will not jump into some of these advanced exercises without mastering those fundamentals to really strengthen your pec muscles first!


Be sure to watch this short video below for a demo of each of these progressions!

For more in-depth tutorials on each of these exercises, head over to my YouTube channel!


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Comment below with any questions and which progression you'll try out next!

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