Getting Started With Push Ups – Knee Push Ups

Knee Push UpsIf you are getting into a fitness program like P90X, Crossfit, or others that require push ups… you will most likely be required to do push ups quite often.  Also, if you are a runner and want to improve core and upper body strength to increase speed and/or endurance, push ups are a great exercise to do so.  The issue is that you may not have the initial core or upper body strength to do many push ups, if any.  Furthermore, the variations in push ups that most programs use may be far too challenging, making you scared, frustrated, and may even cause you to quit doing them.  I am here to tell you that there is a way to get those reps in, take the strain off your wrists, and even do some of the more advanced variations!  Knee push ups baby!  Here we go!

Why Push Ups and Knee Push Ups?

Knee Push Ups - Plank

Knee Push Ups – The Plank

The number one exercise you can do for your core is the plank.  A plank is simply the position you assume at the top of a push up…  your stomach, chest, and face are down towards the floor and you are on tips of your toes and hands… arms extended straight with ears, shoulders, hips, and ankles all in a straight line.  Holding this plank position engages your core to include your hip flexors and upper thighs.  You are also using your shoulders, arms, back, glutes, and legs to hold this position.  It really is a great total body exercise and being better at holding a plank will make you better at virtually every other thing you do in terms of physicality.

Push ups are planks in motion.  To do a push up, you simply bend your arms and allow your body to lower towards the floor.  The lower you go, the more challenging.  Go to the lowest point you are comfortable with starting out and then push yourself back up until arms are straight again.  Remember to keep your core tightened the entire time so that your back, butt, and legs are all in a line…  this is maintaining that perfect plank and working virtually every muscle in your body.  The more rigid you hold your body, the better… and the deeper you go lowering yourself on the push up, the more challenging!

Knee Push Ups

Okay, you know how to do regular push ups based on the description above but you can only do 2 or 3 before you are done.  If you are doing P90X, you will be asked to do multiple sets with as many reps as possible.  What’s more is that you will be doing different push up variations that are more challenging…  military, close grip, wide grip, etc. that will require you to go down to your knees to get those reps in, especially if you are tired.

Knee push ups are exactly the same as regular push ups but you do them from your knees.  This requires less core and upper body strength, making you able to bang out more reps when you are new to push ups or tired.  Even if you are good at push ups, I recommend dropping to the knees when you hit exhaustion to get a couple extra reps.  This will be the difference in you making strength gains and getting more reps in next time.

So now hold plank but instead of from your feet/toes and hands you will be on your knees and hands.  Brace your core as before and lower down in a push up just as before.  This is how you do knee push ups!  Easy and effective.

If you have wrist issues or pain, I highly recommend push up bars that allow you to do push ups and knee push ups without wrist strain.  Here are some highly recommended push up bars.  They are also great for making push ups more challenging as now you can go deeper into the push up if you are looking for an extra challenge (that what I do!).

Alright, now that you understand the basic concept of knee push ups, you have no excuses.  Anybody can do them and you will find that over time, you will be able to do regular push ups better as you strengthen from the knee push ups.

As always, I am happy to provide tips and tricks that allow you to be successful with your exercise program.   Don’t hesitate to Contact Me and ask questions.

Also, a helpful article on approaching pull ups as a beginner is posted here!

Ryan GillespieRyan Gillespie
P90X Certified Trainer / Diamond Beachbody Coach
I currently live in sunny San Diego California and work with people around the country and Internationally on their health and fitness goals. Join my Free Beachbody Team, follow me on Facebook, or friend me on Facebook to join my Free Accountability and Support group. Start today!

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3 Responses to “Getting Started With Push Ups – Knee Push Ups”

  1. Thank you for the tips and encouragement. I do the knee push ups but the connotation of the “girl push ups” made me feel like I was wimping out. I do them to ensure my form is correct. Mixing up full plank and knee push ups have helped me a lot. I Love your helpful posts.

    • Thank you for the great feedback! Getting it done is all that matters, and getting more reps on your knees will get you the results! what workouts are you doing the sets of push ups in?


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