How to do Bodyweight Pushups



Pushups are one of the most important upper body workouts you can do. Requiring a combination of core stamina, stabilization, strength from your core, shoulders, back and arms (particularly triceps) – getting this exercise right can help you sculpt the perfect upper body look, while building up your triceps and overall body stability. 

Pushups are safe to do everyday. Doing your first push up is a lot like riding a bike. First, it’s hard. It’s hard to even do the first one alone and you may need to help recruit your knees to support your body. So they are perfect for setting goals and going from doing your first push up, to scaling up 10 everyday until you reach 100 pushups. 

How to do Pushups with only your bodyweight

1. Get into a plank style position, with your palms shoulder width apart and facing downward on the floor 

2. Keeping your body straight (head, neck and back) – bend your elbows so you go lower to the ground keeping your elbows at a 45 degree angle to your body. Your nose and chest should kiss the ground. Your elbows should not be out directly at a 90 degree angle like a cross, they should form more of an arrow and be tucked closer to the side of your body.

3. Keep your fingers and hands facing straight outward, hold the position for a second or two and push back up. Feel the push with your chest – not your elbows. 

4. Repeat this 10 times or more if you can sustain. 

Primary muscles used

Abs, Chest, Upper Back, Lower Back, Triceps, Shoulders

Commonly asked questions about Pushups

What if I can’t do push ups? 

If you are struggling to do your first pushup, or maybe you’re recovering from an injury then don’t fret! There are many people in the same position but there are several variations you can try to help achieve your goal of doing the perfect pushup: 

  1. Incline Pushups – this is where your upper body is supported on an inclined or raised surface, such as a chair, table or stairs which reduces the force of push required to get yourself back into starting position
  2. Knee Pushups – this is where instead of holding a plank position with your toes, you recruit your knees which helps to offset the burden being carried on your legs and core. They’re often described as easier or less effective, but this isn’t true. They’re a great way to build up the initial strength from which point you can try doing a couple of full pushups. 

Why do my wrists hurt when I do push ups?

The pain you feel in your wrists is often due to poor mobility, flexibility and lack of strength. It’s normal particularly if your wrists are not used to being under load. 

Try spending some time warming up and stretching your wrists before doing push ups. It’s beneficial to do this daily particularly if you have a desk job and spend time typing on the keyboard.