Maybe you’ve heard them called “girl push-ups” (*cringe*) or “modified push-ups.” Regardless of their title, knee push-ups often get a bad rap — they’re too easy, they’re “cheating,” they’re hard on your kneecaps. But science begs to differ.
Knee pushups count as a legitimate upper-body exercise. The ideal precursor to standard push-ups or other challenging arm or shoulder exercises, they are. If you’re having trouble doing a full push-up, try practicing a simpler variation, like a knee push-up.
Find out how to properly perform knee push-ups as well as their advantages by reading the information below.
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What Are Knee Push-Ups?
A bodyweight exercise that works all of your upper body muscles is the knee push-up, also referred to as a modified push-up. Put your hands under your shoulders, shoulder-width apart, and rest your lower body on your knees to perform knee push-ups. Bend your elbows and bring your body closer to the floor by contracting your glutes and core.
The pectoralis major, triceps, and anterior deltoids are the main muscles used. The quadriceps, glutes, obliques, abdominals, and serratus anterior are the secondary muscle groups worked.
Knee Push-Ups Benefits
Knee push-ups can add a number of advantages to your strength-training regimen.
Improve Upper-body Strength
Knee pushups are a compound exercise, which means that several muscle groups are worked simultaneously to complete a single movement. Your core, triceps, shoulders, and chest will all be worked. Training these consistently will improve your upper body strength, and it will surely make you look more toned and sculpted.
Increase Core Stability
This exercise recruits your core muscles as a stabilizer to prevent your body from toppling over. By concentrating on the core, you can improve the microscopic nerves’ receptivity to stimulation, which will strengthen and stabilize the core as a whole.
A Beginner-level Bodyweight Exercise
Work up to a standard push-up by performing knee push-ups. Try incline push-ups or wall push-ups if you want to practice additional beginner-level push-up variations.
No Equipment Needed
It costs nothing to perform knee push-ups because all you need is a little space and your own body as resistance. Push-ups alone can be a fantastic upper body workout! The knee push-up is one variation, but there are more. By performing various variations, you can therefore target your chest from many angles.
How to Do a Knee Push-up?
It’s pretty easy to execute this move. On your knees, it resembles a push-up.
- Kneel on the floor.
- Put your hands on the ground in front of you with your arms outstretched and shoulder-width apart.
- As you bend your arms and lower your torso until your chest touches the floor, tighten your abs.
- Arms should be straight as you lift your torso back up. Baby, go steadily slow.
- Rinse and repeat.
The importance of concentrating on form over speed or rep count cannot be overstated.
A few more pro tips:
- Keep your back straight — never rounded! — throughout the move.
- Even as you lower yourself to the ground, concentrate on keeping your muscles engaged.
- When performing push-ups, contract your abs and butt to strengthen your core.
- To prevent straining your wrist, put your weight into your entire hand, including the fingers.
- Remember to breathe!
- Take a break if you see that your form is becoming sloppy. If you act prematurely and in excess, you risk harming yourself. But with time, you’ll gain strength!
How to Work Out Safely and Avoid Injury?
You can avoid experiencing knee weakness after your push-ups by doing a little preparation prior to your workout.
- Never perform push-ups on bare flooring; always do them on a mat or carpet.
- To protect your knees while performing push-ups, kneel on a towel that has been folded or a throw pillow.
- So that your front half can support half the weight, place your hands flat on the ground with the fingers spread slightly apart. You shouldn’t rely solely on your knees for support.
- Regularly check your form. To prevent knee or wrist injury, you should distribute your weight evenly across your torso.
After taking these safety measures, you might need to stop doing knee push-ups if your knees are still sore. Ask your physician or physical therapist for advice on stretching and strengthening routines for the muscles that surround your knees.
Knee Push Ups Variations
Wall Push Ups
Your shoulders, back, triceps, and chest are worked out during wall push-ups. This exercise is a great starting point if you are not yet able to do knee push-ups, as most of the load will be on your feet rather than your upper body. To perform this, you will:
- As you are two feet from a wall, take a tall stance. Your shoulders are aligned with your hands, and your arms are extended straight out in front of you at shoulder width. This is where things begin.
- Take a deep breath in and flex your elbows as you lean as close to the wall as you can. If you feel you’re reaching too far, move your feet close to the wall.
- Push yourself back to the starting position after exhaling. For 4 sets, try to complete 5–12 reps.
Diamond Knee Push Ups
This variation is a progression to the knee push-ups as you will form a diamond/triangle shape with your hands located at the center of your chest. As a result, the chest won’t be as heavily involved and the triceps will be under more strain. As a result of your balance point being smaller, your core will be recruited more. To perform this, you will:
- Get down on all fours and position your hands in the shape of a diamond or triangle in the middle of your chest (join your thumbs and index fingers together). Your wrists are piled on top of your shoulders. To keep your body in a straight line, extend your knees back and contract your glutes and core. This is where you are starting.
- Inhale, then slowly lower yourself until your elbows are parallel to the ground. Throughout the entire movement, keep your core engaged.
- Exhale and push back up to the starting position. Lock both of your arms out to ensure a full range of motion.
- Repeat this movement between 3-10 reps for 4 sets.
Negative Push Ups
Negative push-ups are similar to traditional push-ups, but the difference is that you will focus on the lowering down part with as much control as possible. This is also known as the eccentric part. By doing this, you’ll give your muscles more time to grow strong and resilient enough to complete a full push-up. To perform this, you will:
- Put yourself in a plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart and your shoulders stacked on top of your wrists. The feet are paired and the legs are fully extended. Maintain a straight line by engaging your core. Your starting point is here.
- Take a deep breath in and, while counting to three, lower your chest gradually toward the ground. Activate your chest and triceps while also paying attention to your core and glutes.
- Lean back into a child’s pose position and return to the starting position and repeat this movement. For four sets, try to complete this exercise for 2 to 6 reps.
Knee push-ups are a starting position for other upper-body exercises. Once you’ve mastered the knee push-up, try your hand at toe push-ups.
Knee push-ups bolster your abs, shoulders, arms, and pecs (chest). If you contract your butt while performing push-ups, you can even sneak in a glute workout.