If you are not quite ready for full push-ups, there are a few ways to make them just a bit easier so you can work up to full ones. There is the technique in the video above, where you place your hands on an elevated object (bench, bar, counter-top, etc). As you get stronger, you can gradually move to lower and lower objects until you can do them on the floor. Another trick is to do knee or “girl” push-ups. Instead of having your toes on the floor, you bend your knees and place them on the floor. Once again, the goal is to get strong enough to do full, push-ups. If you can do one or two full push-ups, do them at the beginning of the set, then finish up with one of the above variations.
Now that you know how to do a correct push-up, how do you go about getting better at them? Great question. There are numerous programs you can follow, or you can make up your own. A good program for beginners (or anyone, really)is 3 Sets of 50% of your maximum, 3 times a week. What you do is do as many push-ups as you can in a row, until you can no longer maintain proper form; this is your “max.” Let’s say you did 20. When it’s time for your work out (on a separate day from your “test”) you would do 10 push-ups, rest couple minutes, do 10 more, rest a couple minutes, do your final 10. You would do this 3 times a week. Every couple weeks or so, you’d want to repeat the test to see how you’ve progressed and use your new “max” to calculate how many push-ups to do per set.
A more advanced program is the 100 Push-Up Challenge at http://hundredpushups.com/ This program moves a bit fast, so it’s okay to repeat each week a few times if you need to. I went through the program in 10 weeks and managed 102 good form push-ups in row at the end. It’s a solid program, that has you doing a lot of push-ups; if you’re willing to commit to it and repeat weeks as needed, you can improve a lot.
There are hundreds of ways you can make variations of push-ups, a few examples include: wide grip, narrow grip, incline, decline, medicine ball, clap, one-handed, etc, etc. I’ve done these and many more in martial arts classes, circuit training groups, or just goofing around by myself, but the standard push-up as outlined above is by far my favorite. If you can do thirty or forty clean, crisp push-ups, and want to mess around with some variations, go ahead, just keep in mind the basic principles of a proper push-up while you do.
-Now, go do some push-ups-