Proper Pushup Exercise For Beginners – Videos And Instructions

The proper pushup exercise targets your chest, shoulders, mid-section and many other muscles. Another excellent exercise you shouldn't miss out on.

But if you're a beginner, you might not be able to do push-ups on the floor. This is likely to be because your core muscles are not strong enough yet.

For this scenario, I'll show you how you can gradually increase your strength to be able to do a proper pushup on the floor.

There is a traditional variation if you can't do push-ups on your toes and hands. That is pushing up from the knees. I've seen many women do that. It's even known as “girl pushups.” But I don't recommend you do it that way.

One of the reasons to do push up exercise is to strengthen your midbody (the core). If you do it from the knees, your core doesn't need to work hard. So you won't improve your core effectively.

Here are 3 easier versions of push-ups for you to try. Start with the level appropriate for you and gradually move up the challenge from there.

Incline Push-ups (60 degree angle)

Here's a short video demonstration of the incline push-up.

Please note that the angle shown in this video is more like 45 rather than 60 degrees. (Sorry I don't have any furniture to show you how to do push ups at a 60-degree angle.) But you get the idea, right? ;-)

If you haven’t got the right facility to work towards your push ups this way, there is another trick. Check out How To Increase Your Push Up Strength With A Pile Of Cardboard Boxes.

The exercise instructions are here.


  1. Find a sturdy piece of furniture that will let you form roughly a 60 degree angle from the floor when your chest is at the edge of the furniture.
  2. Put your hands at the edge of the furniture with your arms straight and a bit wider than shoulder-width apart. You'll be balancing your whole body on your hands (on the furniture) and on your toes. Your body should be straight. This is your starting position.
  3. Lower your chest to the edge of the furniture.
  4. Push back to the starting position. This is one repetition.
  5. Do 2-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions. Or do as many times as your exercise program tells you.

Things to watch out for

  • Your body should form a straight line from your ankles to your neck. Your back should form it's natural S curve, though.
  • Keep your ab tight and don't let it sag.
  • Inhale when you lower your body and exhale when you push up.

Once you can do this 60 degree angle push up for 15 repetitions or so, move on to a 45 degree angle.

Incline Push-ups (45 degree angle)

When the 60 degree gets easy for you, try doing proper pushups from a 45-degree angle to keep the challenge. The method is the same as the 60-degree exercise above, except this time you need to find a surface that will allow you to form roughly a 45-degree angle from the floor.

Once you can do 15 repetitions for this level, move on to a 30 degree angle push up.

Incline Push-ups (30 degree angle)

Just find an appropriate piece of furniture and follow the same instructions as above.

Once you can manage 15 repetitions, you should move on to doing push ups on the floor.

Proper Pushup On The Floor

When you can do all the incline pushups easily, you should now do it on the floor. If you have gradually improved your level from doing incline push ups down to the floor, congratulations!

Here's a video showing you how to perform a proper pushup from the floor.

Here are the exercise instructions for you.


  1. Get down on your hands, which should be wider than shoulder-width apart on the floor.
  2. Balance your whole body on your hands and toes.
  3. Keeping the body straight, bend at the elbows and lower yourself until your chest is a few centimetres from the floor.
  4. Pause briefly and press up.
  5. This is counted as one repetition.
  6. Do 2-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions. Or do as many times as your exercise program tells you.

Things to watch out for

  • As I mentioned above, your body should be straight, but your back should still maintain its natural curve.

At this point, if you want to make this exercise a bit harder, here are some suggestions.

Ways To Make The Floor Pushups Harder

  • You can try doing the push ups with hexagon-shaped dumbbells in your hands. Why hexagonal dumbbells? Because they don't roll away! :D
  • You can rest your hands on thick books to allow your body to go lower.
  • Lift your feet up on a bench or even on a swiss ball to make the push ups more challenging.
  • Try doing the push up with your hands on the swissball.
  • Wear a heavy backpack.
  • Lift one foot completely off the floor.

Return from proper Pushup to Home Weight Training For Women


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